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Manitoba paramedic-turned-filmmaker hopes new meth doc will appeal to students

Methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth.
Methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth. Getty Images

A Manitoba paramedic has turned his first-hand experience dealing with the meth crisis into a documentary film that is generating a lot of buzz.

Rodney Bodner, a 15-year veteran paramedic, said the road to his film Methamphetamine: Community Under Siege, started with a desire to tell the personal stories of people in the throes of addiction.

“It’s everywhere. It’s everywhere in the province, in high schools… it’s a scary drug. It’s not like any other drug we’ve come across,” Bodner told 680 CJOB.

“Like everybody, you see it in the news every day… and I know in the news it can only play so much of a clip and the real story isn’t being told about the human beings behind the addiction.

“I wanted to tell their story of where they came from, why they get involved with methamphetamines and what services or lack of services there is for them to get them out of the rut.”

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Bodner’s project started with a five-minute short film about Winnipeg’s Bear Clan Patrol, which went on to win three international film awards. From there, it ‘spiraled’ into the full-length documentary.

The filmmaker is already working with Manitoba school administrators to make his film available to high school students across the province – and eventually across the country. He said he’s looking into universities as well.

“The more that I watch the film, I think there could be a use for it at a college or university level in social services, psychiatry, nursing… the things that are available for meth addicts right now are very short term.”

Filmmaker Rodney Bodner
Filmmaker Rodney Bodner Twitter

“With methamphetamine it’s not so much the addiction that needs to be treated, other than it is the mental health that’s behind it, the poverty that’s behind it, any trauma induced past they have,” he said.

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The film was picked up for streaming by Amazon Prime, which will start in January, but local audiences can get a first look Thursday night at Winnipeg’s Park West Inn at 7 p.m.

Bodner said he’ll be shifting his focus next to two other documentaries – one on mental health and the other on homelessness – both of which tie into some of the issues discussed in Methamphetamine: Community Under Siege.

Crime in Winnipeg and the effects of a meth crisis
Crime in Winnipeg and the effects of a meth crisis