EyeSteelFilm was founded through making films with the homeless community. Daniel Cross’s gritty street trilogy (Danny Boy, 1993; The Street: a film with the homeless, 1996; SPIT: Squeegee Punks in Traffic, 2002) chronicled a generation of Canadians lost to social funding cuts, political apathy, alcoholism and drug use. These films provided a template for using engaged cinéma-vérité and interactivity for empowerment and change. With SPIT: Squeegee Punks in Traffic, the camera was given to a street kid named Roach, who at the time was living on the streets of Montreal. Over the three years it took to make the film, Roach transformed from drug-addicted street kid to filmmaker and has gone on to direct the documentaries Roachtrip, Punk le Vote!, and Les Tickets.
EyeSteelFilm has branched out to make films on diverse, compelling topics, such as the multiple award-winning Rip! A Remix Manifesto, a look at remixing and copyright in the digital age; teens coming of age in a small Inuit village (Inuuvunga I am Inuk I am Alive); and a series of films chronicling modern life in China (Bone, 2005; Chairman George, 2006; Up the Yangtze, 2007). Up the Yangtze grossed close to 1.5 million dollars in North American box office, one of the year’s top documentary releases. The film also won dozens of awards, such as the Genie (Canada’s Oscar) for Best Documentary.
Over the years, EyeSteelFilm has collaborated with a wide range of partners including: The National Film Board of Canada, CBC, CTV, BBC, ZDF/ARTE, PBS and ITVS. In 2009, EyeSteelFilm was listed as a Realscreen magazine “Global 100” company.