Bountiful wins big at the New York Festivals

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January 2016, two Bountiful Films docs aired-back to back on the CBC – Helen’s Hold Your Fire on CBC Firsthand, and Maureen’s Wasted, on The Nature of Things. This little doc duo struck gold at 2017 NYF International TV & Film Awards. Want to thank once again, the families in Hold Your Fire who shared the pain of the loss of their loved ones, and Mike Pond, Maureen’s partner, for revealing his struggle with problematic substance use and our amazing camera crews. We’ve heard from thousands since both films aired. We know they’ve made a difference in the world. And that’s the most gratifying win of all.

Up Next: Feb 9, Lost On Arrival: Me, the Mounties and PTSD.

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A new film by Helen Slinger for CBC’s Firsthand. Watch the trailer Now.

#10 Petrovich in Tacloban, Philippines. Haunted by the devastation

Vancouver International Airport – YVR – is familiar territory for Curt Petrovich. As a CBC News national reporter on the West Coast since 2005, he uses YVR as a portal into the world’s disaster zones and back home again to his young family. Petrovich has travelled through YVR to African refugee camps, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the Fukishima nuclear disaster. He always came home safe. Or so he thought until 2014 – the year he crashed with PTSD and began courageously rebuilding himself from the inside out. In the process, he gained profound insight into a story he had never been able to let go of – the 2007 Taser death of Robert Dziekanski at YVR. This film reveals as yet unseen layers of the Dziekanski story while taking the audience inside the experience of PTSD from the perspective of a well-known Canadian journalist.

Watch the Trailer Now.

Canadian Mental Health Association Conference: B4SStage4 

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Maureen speaking with partner Mike Pond at Canadian Mental Health Association conference, B4SStage4

Maureen and Mike B4SStage4

We don’t wait until stage 4 to treat cancer. But that’s our approach to treating addiction when the disorder becomes a full-blown crisis. Victoria, Nov. 28–30, 2016, the Canadian Mental Health Association launched a ground-breaking campaign to ensure those battling addictions and mental illness get the same evidence-based, compassionate treatment as those fighting physical illness. If you agree substance use and mental health treatment needs desperately needs funding, please sign the B4Stage4 Manifesto.

Addiction.The Next Step

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Welcome to Addiction. The Next Step – a project designed to transform how you think about addiction. Built with support from the Telus Fund, Addiction.The Next Step picks up where our film Wasted leaves off. Here you will find evidence-based research, stories, and treatment to help those struggling with substance use disorder. The Addiction Crisis Tool Kit  puts a world-class, proven therapy directly into the hands of those who need it most: families and loved ones of those battling substance use disorder. Best of all, it’s free and available 24/7.

No more waiting – Hold Your Fire airs Thursday

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The jury has finally begun deliberations in the trial of the Toronto police officer charged with 2nd degree murder in the shooting of Sammy Yatim – the young man on the streetcar in the summer of 2013. This means that Hold Your Fire can finally be broadcast.

Even though it had been thoroughly lawyered with the trial in mind, CBC considered it too powerful to air during the trial. It’s been somewhat painful for us, waiting to get going on publicity for what we believe to be a useful addition to an important national conversation.

And we know it’s been difficult for the people inside the doc who so generously gave us their stories to then wait…and wait… The wait is over – Hold Your Fire will definitely be on the air this Thursday night January 21st @ 9 pm on CBC Firsthand. Now that the jury’s out, we can also show you the trailer.


Jackie Christopher with a scrapbook documenting her son’s death in a police shooting

Paul Boyd on the right, with his father, nephew and sister

Michael MacIsaac with wife Marianne

Wasted in The Georgia Straight

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Here’s the full article – Maureen and Mike interviewed by the Georgia Straight:


Wasted – on The Current

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Maureen, Mike and Dr. Evan Wood were on CBC’s The Current to discuss Mike’s relapse … and the new medications that helped him recover. Listen here:

Director’s Diary – Mike Drank Again

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Maureen Palmer and Mike Pond

I can honestly say I never saw it coming and I never thought I’d have to deal with it. In our first round of filming, the experts told us alcohol use disorder is a chronic relapsing condition and yet it never occurred to me it would happen to Mike. How smug of me.
The night that Mike drank, I panicked. Mike’s disorder had been so severe before, I feared we were heading in that direction again. Then I had to step out of my “concerned partner brain,” to put on my filmmaker’s hat and think about how to tell this part of the story, from his perspective. And mine. The viewer would be curious what my reaction would be. So, Mike and I turned on our iPhones and began to interview each other about the relapse. You’ll see part of the conversation in the film. I’m resplendent in my ancient fuzzy blue housecoat.
That night, I didn’t know whether that material would ever make it to air. But in documentary filmmaking, when something happens you need to get it on camera, then decide later what to do with it. If I didn’t roll on the relapse, the heightened anxiety and uncertainty of that moment would be lost.
Mike’s relapse upped the stakes for our film. It made our search for new treatment options very personal and urgent, because in the past the go-to treatment, AA and the 12 steps, didn’t work for Mike. The biggest challenge for me during this time, was allowing Mike his autonomy to manage his disorder. Experts like Dr. Bill Miller and Dr. Keith Humphreys, whom you’ll meet in the film, told us they were humbled by the wisdom of their clients. Wisdom that’s too often written off, as in “Oh he’s such a drunk he can’t make a decision to save his life.” This is Mike’s life we are talking about. Like any other life-threatening illness or disorder, surely the patient must have a voice?
Tune in to the Nature of Things Thursday January 21st, to see the choices Mike made and how it all turned out.