Edmund’s Island

Edmund's Island follows Edmund Thompson, a homeless veteran and news-hawker in Enincitas, California, taking care to show Thompson's infectious joy, life philosophy, and the community he has built around his island, a traffic divider in the middle of Enincitas Blvd.

0:05Copy video clip URL Color bars.

1:12Copy video clip URL Video begins with Edmund Thompson standing in the middle of the highway, trading a newspaper for several loaves of bread. “What am I gonna do with it?” says Thompson. “Well, I’m certainly not gonna eat it. I want to feed it to God’s creatures, the birds at City College.” 

2:01Copy video clip URL Thompson emerges from the door of a plasma donation center, his efforts to donate that day were unsuccessful as the plasma center did not file his chart. He says, however, that he kept a positive energy in spite of this bad news, causing his chart to be finally put in the right place.

2:31Copy video clip URL Thompson leads the camera to the place where he sleeps.

2:59Copy video clip URL Back at work selling papers for the San Diego Union Tribune in the middle of the intersection, Thompson sings a tune to himself. “This is Edmund’s Island, you know?” he says. “You can’t find anything but love and happiness and peacefulness here.”

3:42Copy video clip URL Thompson explains his reasons for coming to California, and his decision to live on the streets after realizing how expensive the cost of living in California actually was. 

4:46Copy video clip URL Thompson discusses how, when he began selling papers, he got more hostile reactions, while also explaining how those reactions have warmed to become family-like. He interacts with several people who greet him enthusiastically.

5:34Copy video clip URL Thompson runs over to a car, who instead of giving him a paper simply gives him a five-dollar bill. “Put it all together here, I might just have enough to have a fish dinner,” Thompson jokes. He continues to keep his positive attitude as cars pass, even giving a paper to one girl for free to “make her a paper junkie,” knowing he will be able to make up the thirty cents when another person passes by. 

6:37Copy video clip URL Thompson talks about how this method of giving out some free papers has increased his production levels, going from twenty-five papers a day to a hundred and twenty a day. “What goes around comes around,” he says.

7:13Copy video clip URL Thompson runs over to a car holding one of his favorite customers. “He’s the most friendly gentleman I have ever met in my life. It’s fantastic. He’s always nice, always kind. He always smiles, whatever the weather is, and is always a very nice man. It’s fantastic. He really pushes my mood in the morning when I see him,” the customer enthuses.

7:38Copy video clip URL Thompson chats with a pregnant woman, who tells him her baby is due next month, before returning to singing while selling his papers.

8:11Copy video clip URL Thompson goes over the amount of papers he sold, having only a little over forty of the original hundred and twenty. A customer gives him a pamphlet on Jesus Christ, as well as a bag of chips.

4:48Copy video clip URL Thompson happily meets another frequent customer, who has been crying. They check in, and she buys a paper from him. “She always pays more than what the paper’s worth,” says Thompson. “It all works out somehow. Somehow, it all works out. I don’t understand. It’s not for me to understand or to question. Just play the game according to the rules. Give with an open heart, and don’t even trip on it. Works for me.”

10:10Copy video clip URL Thompson excitedly meets Nancy, one of the first people to help him out. Nancy shares the story of first seeing Thompson, and how his infectious happiness helped her out of a very dark place. “He’s more than just a paper guy,” she says. “He’s the angel on this street corner.” Thompson humbly responds to her calling him an “angel.”

11:54Copy video clip URL Thompson succeeds in selling all his papers for the day.

12:00Copy video clip URL Thompson stands under an umbrella, eating a donut. “There’s only one good thing about being fat. Keeps me from getting cold.” He laughs. A woman buys a paper from him.

12:36Copy video clip URL Outro plays, and Thompson shares what he would like to have before dying, sharing his plans to get off of the street and go back to school to get a degree.

13:07Copy video clip URL Credits. 



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