UNTITLED UBC PRISON PROJECT
I’m currently working on an as-yet unpublished documentary project with researchers at the UBC School of Population Health. They're working with men just released from life in prison, mostly out of institutions in the Fraser Valley (Matsqui, Ferndale, Mission), setting them up with mentors (former inmates of federal penitentiaries) and researching the challenges of transition to the outside and how it can be improved. The former inmates have done some bad things; they've been behind bars for a long time and are now mostly old men. This project is the first opportunity to put a human face on life in and beyond prison in BC, and how challenging it can be, especially when you’re older and haven’t lived or worked on the outside in years. One of the locations will be a farm in Mission that gives work and training (farm trades, beekeeping, etc.) to ex-cons and parolees.
The Dudes Club is a community outreach project on the DTES led by UBC’s Dr. Paul Gross and funded by the Movember Foundation, the Vancouver Native Health Society and the Men’s Depression and Suicide Network at UBC. Originally conceived as a study about new means of helping men on the DTES access healthcare, it has become a safe space for men in the neighbourhood, many of whom are indigenous and struggling with sexual abuse, addiction and homelessness. It’s a place where men can come together to “take off their armour” necessary to survive in one of Canada’s poorest and toughest neighbourhoods. There they can access healthcare they would not otherwise seek, eat a good meal, get a haircut and support one another spiritually, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
I’ve worked with these men for three of the past six years since the group was founded. The stories these men (and the men and women doctors, support workers and health providers who stand with them) have to share are articulate and deeply moving. This is ongoing, innovative project that has already grown to three satellite groups in BC communities and is becoming recognized as a new and scalable model. I made this documentary last year to help access new funding to help grow the project.
My video work with the Dudes has appeared in the Globe and Mail.
ANTARCTICA AND THE CANADIAN ARCTIC
For the past two years I’ve worked with the Squamish-based One Ocean Expeditions in both the Canadian Arctic and Antarctica, documenting the changing polar environments; animal and bird life; the itinerant workers from Canada and around the world who crew the ships (Russian charters that also double as scientific research vessels); and the journalists, tourists, guides and scientists who pack the ships every voyage. These are the planet’s most remote places; they harbour some of the world’s greatest environmental diversity and are bellwethers of the impact of climate change. Last year the influential Future of Antarctica Conference, was held onboard One Ocean's flagship Academic Ioffe. One Ocean is a local company and one of the world’s leading expedition providers to the polar regions. It’s an opportunity to examine the impacts of climate change and tourism through the lens of a local business operating on a global stage.