Bevel Up: a teaching guide for street nurses

Tonight’s screening of Bevel Up, a riveting documentary/teaching guide about Vancouver’s street nurses, provided the starting point tonight for Pacific Cinematheque’s retrospective series on the work of Vancouver film maker Nettie Wild.

Produced two years ago, the film is a major departure for Wild — she normally works independently but was commissioned to do this project by the Centre for Disease Control — and a logical sequel to Fix, the film that defined for many the campaign that resulted in Insite, Vancouver’s supervised injection site.

Not surprisingly, Wild started her introductory comments with a brief celebration of today’s Federal Court decision upholding a BC Supreme Court ruling that required Ottawa to renew Insite’s operating permit. Both former Mayor Philip Owen and former city drug policy director Donald Macpherson were at the screening.

Available from the NFB, Bevel Up can be viewed as an unflinching look at the realities of life on the street as seen by the street nurses. But it can also be used as a teaching and discussion guide for those training for the job or interested in harm reduction.

Seven years after Philip Owen’s NPA rejected harm reduction, rejected his leadership and was swept out of office by Larry Campbell and COPE, the fight for harm reduction and sane drug policy continues. Bevel Up is a reminder of the cost paid every day by people on our streets.

The entire Wild series continues this week.