Broadcaster,  11/8/2006


NFB Filmmaker-In-Residence Goes to the Hospital

The National Film Board of Canada Filmmaker-in-Residence program is now an out-patient at the internationally renowned St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.

As a result, a broad range of media content, including an immersive online documentary, located at www.nfb.ca/filmmakerinresidence, will be launched, as award-winning filmmaker Katerina Cizek works hand-in-hand with the frontline doctors, nurses, researchers and patients to create media for social change.

"We live in a completely mediatized world that has burst beyond the traditional boundaries of television and movies. Media creation is no longer the domain of a few professionals and exists in all manners and all places including on the web and on mobile platforms. In this context, it is the role of the NFB, as a public sector producer and distributor, to be at the vanguard of creating new ways for media to be created and used by Canadians who otherwise are left on the media sidelines," said Tom Perlmutter, Director General, English Program, NFB. "St Michael's is a perfect partner because they have pioneered a global program of involving disadvantaged inner city communities in managing their own health care. By working together we leverage the strengths of both institutions and provide a completely unique service to Canadians. In the process, we're also leading the way globally in providing a new model of media creation for the multi-platform universe where every citizen is potentially a media creator."

"St. Michael's Hospital has been serving the inner city of Toronto since 1892. From our early beginnings, the hospital has sought out innovative and effective ways to reaching those populations that traditional methods don't always reach," said Dr. Arthur Slutsky, Vice President, Research at St. Michael's Hospital. "This partnership with the National Film Board of Canada - an organization with world class expertise in media - is an exciting one that will impact people's lives in a non-conventional way."

Filmmaker-in-Residence embodies the National Film Board of Canada's effort to reach out to communities and provide an alternative model of media making. Collaborative and community-based, Filmmaker-in-Residence places media creation back into the hands of the citizens so that they can participate and become agents of true social change. This two-year pilot project, to be completed in December 2007, places award-winning filmmaker Cizek at St. Michael's Hospital and gives her unprecedented access to work with the frontlines of Canadian healthcare: doctors, nurses, researchers and patients. From local projects at the Inner City Health Unit, to global ones, Filmmaker-in-Residence is partnering media with medicine in innovative ways, using film, video, mobile devices, online, photography, art.

Parts of Filmmaker-in-Residence also are being used for formal academic research, which will provide unique insights into how media can partner with medicine and operate as an instrument of positive social change.

The first collaboration, The Bicycle, followed doctors from St. Michael's Hospital who created the independent Dignitas International and highlights one man's effort to deliver community-based care in rural Africa. Another collaboration, The Interventionists: Chronicles of a Mental Health Crisis Team, is nearing completion and follows a unique team a police officer and a psychiatric nurse as they respond to emergency calls, delivering appropriate and compassionate care to "emotionally disturbed persons".

The third collaboration in a series of many to be announced at a later date is a photo-blogging workshop with the Young Parents No Fixed Address Network an advocacy group for pregnant women and parents who need transitional housing.

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