I began working in 2011 as a freelance videographer for harm reduction and anti-poverty organizations in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
I learned about the history of the area, the resilience of the community, and the struggle to create innovative and welcoming spaces for the city’s most marginalized population, such as InSite, North America’s first medically-supervised injection site and SALOME (the Study to Access Longer-term Opioid Medication Effectiveness at the Crosstown Clinic), which became North America’s first opioid assisted therapy program.
Through my extensive work in the neighborhood, I developed deep bonds and trust within the community, which allowed me to film with people and in places where cameras normally weren’t allowed, due in no small part to the generally exploitative framing of the community by the media.
These relationships, allowed me to meet Lynda and Max and follow them and some of their fellow participants during their most intimate moments inside the Crosstown Clinic.
It is my hope that “Haven” will resonate with audiences and show us how places like the Crosstown Clinic are saving and improving lives while thousands die needlessly in the ongoing overdose epidemic.