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photo The Interventionists
By Katerina Cizek
National Film Board of Canada

The Interventionists, The Bicycle, Drawing From Life, and Hand-Held are all included on one DVD for the price of $248

The Interventionists follows the days and nights of a unique crisis team working their cases in downtown Toronto. Ellen is a mental health nurse. Brandon is a specially trained police officer. Together, they ride the streets of the inner city in an unmarked police vehicle, responding to 911 police calls involving "Emotionally Disturbed Persons." One of the first of its kind, the team is a special partnership between St. Michael's Hospital and Police Divisions 51 and 52, in South East/Central Toronto. Their mandate is to decriminalize mental health issues. Together the team de-escalate crises to avoid unnecessary arrests and emergency room visits by providing appropriate referrals, services and resources within a patients' own community.

With unprecedented access, The Interventionists follows the team from case to case. The calls are hastily labelled at 911 dispatch as "threatened suicides," "bizarre behaviour," "person gone berserk" or simply "EDP": Emotionally Disturbed Person. Once they arrive on scene, however, with time, patience and expertise, the team peels away at the labels, to get at the underlying causes for the crisis, revealing the complex and often tragic situations faced by people living with mental illness.

Included in the box set Filmmaker-in-Residence: The Complete Collection with The 7 Interventions of Filmmaker-in-Residence

31 minutes
© 2009
Purchase $248 DVD
Order No. QA-532
close captioned

Awards & Conference Screenings
Webby Award, 2008
Banff International Television Festival, Canada
Canadian New Media Award
World UN Summit Award
Grierson: Sheffield Innovation Award

Related Films
The Bicycle: Fighting AIDS with community medicine in Malawi.

Drawing From Life: A half-hour film that goes inside a group therapy workshop for people who have attempted suicide more than once.

Hand-Held: A documentary anthology on health and homelessness, and a frank and invaluable resource for anyone interested in how media and medicine can work together to change lives.

The Seven Interventions of Filmmaker-in-Residence: The story of a groundbreaking project in media intervention at an inner-city hospital. What happens when documentary filmmaking, photoblogs, digital storytelling and more are used to investigate complex health issues?

Bevel Up: Drugs, Users & Outreach Nursing: How can nurses deliver effective and compassionate healthcare to drug users? This compelling documentary follows a team of "street nurses" as they reach out to prevent AIDS and other STDs by going directly to the young people, sex workers, and homeless men and women living in the alleys, shelters, and skid row hotels of the inner city.


Awards & Screenings

Related Films

Web Resources


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