Reel NW

About the Film

About the Film

It’s bedtime, and Sam Sullivan parks his wheelchair just so. He leans gently forward, then falls over in a carefully choreographed drop onto his bed. Wrestling his body out of his clothes, he struggles to position himself. An hour later, comfortable at last, he speed-dials his campaign manager to review the day.

Sam is running for mayor.

Sam Sullivan was a local curiosity, the quadriplegic city councillor in a pinstripe suit, with a pipe dream of leading his shattered right-wing party back to power. Citizen Sam goes deep inside Sullivan's mayoral campaign to tell the remarkable story behind his rise from obscurity.

As the campaign begins, Sullivan admits to giving addicts money to buy crack and heroin. His opponents call him a do-nothing politician and a nut. The media write him off while everyone tiptoes around the issue of his disability.

6 am. Sam is back on the phone, going over the day's schedule while he reverses the previous night's routine, into fresh clothes and then a precarious move from bed to chair. His partner, Lynn, adjusts his tie and leads him out the door to his first appointment, a radio debate.

With unprecedented access, director Joe Moulins blends the rough and tumble of the campaign with intimate moments from Sullivan's daily life. A brutally frank and funny video diary counts down the days to the election. From war room to bedroom, Citizen Sam is an unflinching portrait of the one-of-a-kind politician who has become the face of Vancouver on the international stage.

Director's Biography

Director's Biography

Joe Moulins has been telling stories for a living since 1981. His film "A Tribe of Their Own: The Journalism of P. Sainath" won a dozen awards, and is still screened at festivals worldwide. He directed, shot, and wrote "Citizen Sam," the controversial film about former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan, which was nominated at the 2008 Gemini awards.

Moulins is also and the founder of the British Columbia Society for Disability and Media. The BCSDM develops and provides the tools and/or training that people with disabilities need to get started in the production of film, video and other media.

The Reel NW Connection

Reel NW focuses on the very best of independent film from the Northwest. Every week, Reel NW airs intriguing films from, or about, our own community. Joe Moulins is a documentary filmmaker in Vancouver, BC. "Citizen Sam" was produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

Citizen Sam


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Is there a way to get this sound track???


Sorry, but the soundtrack has not been released on disk.

KCTS 9 Staff


I hope a video of Citizen Sam will be available for viewing on my computer. Let me know ok?


David at


Hi David,

We're sorry, but the terms of the agreement we have to air Citizen Sam did not include online viewing. We've secured those rights wherever we could for films presented on Reel NW in order to expose these great films to as large an audience as possible.

KCTS 9 Staff

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