Playing It Safe

From the Playing It Safe website: The PLAYING IT SAFE project was initiated by Edmonton filmmaker Terri Wynnyk, who proposed that the National Film Board North West Studio produce a video about youth living in risky lifestyles and ways they try to stay safe. In the development phase, partly funded by Health Canada’s Drug Strategy and Community Initiatives Fund, Alberta Region and Streetworks Edmonton, it was decided that the PLAYING IT SAFE project would become a web story-telling creation. It would be designed to allow high-risk youth to tell their stories on film to demonstrate how they reduce the harm in their own lives. We wanted the overall message of the PLAYING IT SAFE project to tell youth on the street that they matter, that they have the strength to care about themselves, and that there is support for them in the community.

Since March 2008, the North West Centre has been working with at-risk youth who have been creating and telling episodic stories (webisodes) about staying healthy and alive. Our community partners in the project include the youth-serving agencies YouthCo Aids Society in Vancouver and iHuman and the Youth Restorative Action Program (YRAP) in Edmonton. These agencies recruited and supported the youth who participated in training sessions to learn the basic crafts of camera, storytelling, and editing. Filmmaking teams, made up of an at-risk youth filmmaker and a peer filmmaker, worked closely with director Terri Wynnyk to write, shoot, and edit the short episodic stories on this website. All the videos went through a small post production process: in Vancouver with filmmaker Lisa Nielsen and in Edmonton with Terri and editor, Brenda Terning.

For three years, I worked alongside Lulu Gurney, a young trans woman, and together, we created six documentary shorts focusing on different aspects of her recovery and life from addiction.