Two new docs on Vancouver's drug-riddled downtown East Side

0 Posted by - April 8, 2008 - Blog

Two new Canadian documentaries are tackling the subject of Vancouver's troubled downtown East Side. Devil Plays Hardball, by Nijole Kujmickas was broadcast earlier in March on CBC's Passionate Eye and Nettie Wild's latest offering, Bevel Up, will premiere this month at Hot Docs.

On The Devil Plays Hardball (via CBC):

This project is unique because unlike some interventionist documentaries and make-over reality shows, it is not trying to create a sensationalist finale, but sincerely question whether the mentor approach can affect social change,” says Catherine Olsen, senior programmer of documentaries for CBC Newsworld.

Shot in HD, Devil Plays Hardball endeavors to make positive changes in the homeless population, one step – and one person – at a time. The filmmakers, who placed ads on Craigslist and on shelter and hostel notice boards in Vancouver, were surprised by the overwhelming number of potential mentors and homeless people who applied.

And on Bevel Up (via Nettie Wild):

At the heart of Bevel Up, is a compelling documentary following Caroline Brunt and her team of fellow street nurses as they reach out to youth, sex workers and street-entrenched men and women in the alleys and hotels of Vancouver’s inner city. The footage is startling in its intimacy, compassion and real-life drama. Most importantly, the nurses reflect on attitudes they bring to their work – attitudes that can make or break the relationship needed to successfully provide practical and nonjudgmental health care.

But Bevel Up is more than a 45 min documentary. This intriguing DVD explores a new style of filmmaking for director, Nettie Wild (FIX: The Story of an Addicted City, A Place Called Chiapas). With Bevel Up, she uses an interactive DVD format to combine the cinema verite documentary with 3.5 hours of teaching menus. This extended format encourages the viewer to delve deep into relevant ethical, practical and legal issues which confront healthcare providers on a daily basis in big cities and small towns across Canada. Leading experts in their field address key subjects such as Drugs and the Brain, Pregnancy, Mental Health, Prohibition and Sex Work.

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