EMPz is the nickname the residents of a Toronto suburb have given to their neighborhood, a community largely populated by low-income African-Canadians who struggle against the crime and violence that has become commonplace in their town. Brian Harvey is a community activist who works with at-risk youth in EMPz, setting up tutoring programs, after-school activities, free breakfasts for lower-income children and other programs in an effort to make a better life for young people, though he emphasizes that teenagers have to change their own minds about guns and gangs before their problems can begin to resolve themselves. Many young people in EMPz, however, feel they're engaged in a losing battle to reclaim their neighborhood given the attitudes of police and city officials about their community (several talk about being pulled over by traffic cops for "driving while black"). Veteran documentary filmmaker Allan King brought his camera crew to the EMPz during 2005, described as "the year of the gun" by the Canadian news media, and followed the efforts of Harvey and his compatriots to make a difference in a community that many in the city of Toronto had given up on. EMPz 4 Life received its world premier at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival.
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