Drugs. They sneak into your life, into your veins. You wake up and you're all alone in the depths. But the Earth keeps turning. Since 2004, the travelling studios of Wapikoni Mobile have enabled Quebec First Nations youth to express themselves through videos and music. This short film was made with the guidance of these travelling studios and is part of the 2008 selection.
This gripping documentary takes a powerful look at the lives of people with substance use disorder in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Filmmaker Veronica Alice Mannix follows Constable Al Arsenault and six other police officers on their daily beat, documenting their unique relationships with people who speak candidly about their painful past experiences, their drug addiction, and life on the street.
This documentary offers a compassionate, open-minded look at LSD and how it fits into our world. Long before Timothy Leary urged a generation to "tune in, turn on and drop out," the drug was hailed as a way to treat forms of addiction and mental illness. At the same time, it was being touted as a powerful tool for mental exploration and self-understanding. Featuring interviews with LSD pioneers, beautiful music and stunning cinematography, this is much more than a simple chronicle of LSD's early days. It's an alternative way of looking at the drug... and our world.
This feature documentary is a portrait of the downtown Toronto neighbourhood of Dundas and Sherbourne, where the gap between rich and poor is growing wide. There, middle-class homeowners, angry radicals, desperate drug addicts and people simply looking for a place to lay their head are embattled in a bitter struggle for space. Angel, a prostitute and drug addict, dodges the law. Bed-and-breakfast owner Renée rails against the sex and drug trade. Community organizer John Clarke advocates direct action in defence of the poor. And at the eye of this storm is Reverend Jeannie Loughrey, whose drop-in centre provides much-needed help for the poor, yet homeowners accuse the centre of harbouring criminals and are lobbying to shut it down. Contains coarse language and scenes of drug use.
In this feature-length documentary, photographer Nance Ackerman describes the havoc prescription painkiller OxyContin wreaked in the already weakened Cape Breton town of Glace Bay. The film guides us through a culture of economic and social depression where we encounter men and women at different stages of dependency. Demystifying the world of the addict while showing us the complex social nexus that led to such despair, Cottonland emphasizes the importance of a collective approach to tackling addiction.
In the early 1970s, a group of young volunteers, the Free Youth Clinic of Winnipeg, operated a "crisis bus" to rescue young people experiencing bad drug trips, usually from LSD. This film documents the activities of the volunteers: responding to and treating emergencies, whatever the hour, and obtaining further medical aid for their patients, if required.
Filmmaker Anne Claire Poirier captures the most terrible tragedy a mother can imagine – her own daughter's addiction, prostitution, and eventual murder. Determined to use her talent as a filmmaker to find the strength and courage needed to go on, Poirier created a cinematic tour-de-force that delves into the lives of street people. She unearths her daughter's past in order to better understand why she, and other young people, risk their lives for the drugs they believe will set them free.
This short documentary tackles the topic of tranquilizers, a family of pharmaceutical drugs Canadians are avid consumers of. In the form of an ongoing dialogue for and against these drugs, the film introduces us to doctors and patients who approach the prescription issue from different angles. Is there such a thing as an “easy pill”?
Just north of the City of Edmonton lies Poundmaker’s Lodge, an addiction and mental-health facility specializing in treatment for Indigenous people. Founded in 1973 and still operational today, the Lodge’s programs and services are Indigenous-run and based in culturally appropriate recovery and healing techniques. Framing the short documentary with the words of the great Plains Cree Chief Pîhtokahanapiwiyin (Poundmaker), Alanis Obomsawin presents a frank examination of the root causes of substance abuse in Indigenous communities and how the absence of love and support – exacerbated by the impacts of colonialism and racism – created a legacy of alcoholism for some individuals.
Bevel Up follows street nurses as they reach out to people working in the sex trade, and people who use drugs in the alleys and hotels of Vancouver’s inner city. Most importantly the nurses reflect on the attitudes they bring to their work—attitudes that can make or break their relationships with the people to whom they provide practical, non-judgemental health care on a daily basis.
The Bevel Up Educational Playlists offer viewers a dynamic way to learn through more than four hours of additional footage, interviews and a Teachers Guide. The interactive resource gives students and instructors in the healthcare field access to the experiences of practitioners who work with people who use drugs in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
For more information, images, and clips, click here.
In 1980, Linda M. was the subject of a film about prostitution directed by Norma Bailey (Nose and Tina). It's 16 years later, and Linda renews her relationship with the filmmaker, inviting her back into her life. Now in rehab, Linda introduces her family and various boyfriends in a funny, sometimes upsetting, but always riveting account of day-to-day life.
The NFB's 31st Oscar®-nominated film.
This film is a revealing portrait of a tough cop with a big heart. Sergeant Bernie "Whistling" Smith walks the beat on Vancouver's Eastside, the hangout of petty criminals, down-and-outs and a variety of characters. His policing is unorthodox. To many drug users, petty thieves and prostitutes in this economically depressed area he is more than the iron hand of the law, he is also a counsellor and a friend.
Ages 13 to 16
Health/Personal Development - Mental Health/Stress/Suicide
Health/Personal Development - Substance Use and Abuse/Addiction
The subject matter, drugs, speaks to the sensitivity of one group toward a problem that is widespread in isolated communities. To value the expression of feelings, assign students an introspective essay about a sorrowful experience that made them realize that “the world keeps turning.” This can be followed up with a discussion on drug use and the difference between occasional momentary pleasure and the harm that comes with abuse.