DocsNorth – Hold Onto The Light

Just a short blog explaining the following video recently posted to my YouTube page. I was involved in a training program in Thunder Bay recently as refresher course for myself and others of varying degrees of experience. You can learn more about the DocsNorth training initiative


Here are the smiling happy folks involved. As part of the training we were schooled in the fundamentals of filmmaking by veteran filmmakers whom acted as mentors. The last two days culminated with the participants breaking up in to teams of 4-5 with a Mentor. In all, three teams were created. Incidentally, this photo-op presented itself, when during one of our sessions, smoke started billowing out the adjoining kitchen. Hence the firetruck!

The training btw, took place in Thunder Bay at the Finn Hall located on Bay Street above the world-famous Hoito Restaurant. Quite enjoyed this venue as it presented me the opportunity to tinkle the ivories on an old upright piano on stage during breaks. Moreover, plenty of good eats were catered to us by the good folks at the Hoito. Yum!


Aforementioned, the last days were reserved for shooting and editing a short film of 5-7 minutes length – all within about a 30 hr period! Groups were formed and we had to come up with a pitch. My group consisted of all the talented folks named at the end of the following video. Luckily, we had an enthusiastic and ambitious group, one of which was Phoebe who offered up her story relating to prescription pill addiction. With little discussion, we settled on telling her story. With some scrambling, we all settled into positions we were comfortable with. Our mentor was Kelly Saxberg, who was gracious in driving, toting stuff and advising us upon request. For folks who barely knew each other at the beginning of the week, we gelled as a group! As it is with most productions, magic and synchronicity became an ally despite the challenging circumstance presented. A big kudos to Phoebe for her allowing us to tell her story as part of this exercise. An important message for all. Perhaps, someone seeing this will realize there is hope and a way out from the grip of addiction. Hope this video serves as an inspirational story, and again, thanks to Phoebe for sharing.

I suppose I can go on in a long drawn out blog, but I think we are most are well aware that this prescription pill problem is a steadily increasing situation of concern, not only on many northern reserves, but in all communities and is having detrimental affects. If you were not aware of this, as I was until recently until I attended a small gathering at our local Friendship Centre as a journalist. It was there I heard many personal stories from visiting addicts and agencies alike involved in contending with this sweeping epidemic. I know locally, and in my community, places like our Friendship Centre and First Nation umbrella organizations like Mattawa and Nishnawbe Aski Nation and the like are making positive steps in contending with this problem. So as it is with the social ills heaped upon us, it will not happen overnight, but awareness and strides to coping and healing are being attended to. For many Methadone Clinics offer solutions. You can learn more here!
of the situation in the Thunder Bay Region. As many who still grapple with their addictions and attached stigma, I don’t think ostracizing individuals is not assisting in the fight to combat the problem, but rather supporting those seeking help should be commended on their bravery. In closing, thanks for the visit perhaps its best I quote Phoebe in saying in the video ” There’s a light that you have to sort of hold on to. To say that PAIN is sort of worth dealing with and there’s a lot of people in a lot of PAIN.”

Take care all and good health to you and yours.


P.S.S. One shocking thing I learned was the absorbent prices of prescribed opiate based pills, especially Oxycotin. An 80mg would run you $80 in Thunder Bay, $180 for the same pill in Geraldton – just 3 hours NE on Highway 11 and anywhere between $280-$380 is the going rate for fly-in reserves North of Geraldton. Apparently 80mg can keep you high most of the day. In any event, how is this affordable is beyond me? It really is a perplexing mystery.

P.S.S. Just as a sidebar, I was glad to lend one of my original tunes to the video. The song is called “Who Stole The Fire From Your Eyes”, a song I wrote in Moose Factory in 1994. I had never forseen it ever being utilized in this context, however, while digitizing the video for editing in Final Cut Pro, as an experiment Kelly, her husband Ron and I were listening to the tune and we thought out that perhaps “it just might work?” After consulting the rest of the team, we settled on it. You can find the full demo of the mp3 here!

P.S.S.S. DocsNorth Team: Phoebe Sutherland, Clarence Michon, Kelly Saxberg, Brendan Petersen, Rowena Moonias and Alethea Arnaquq-Baril

Explore posts in the same categories: Documentary Related, Other Musings

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