Documentary about first responders and trauma to screen in Windsor

The Canadian Mental Health Association is screening the documentary The Other Side of the Hero for free, twice this week at St. Clair Centre for the Arts.
The Other Side of the Hero is produced by Enrico Colantoni and Karen Shopsowitz. (The Other Side of the Hero/Official website)

A documentary screening in Windsor will show people what it's like to be a first responder — once they're off the clock.

The Other Side of the Hero was produced by Canadian actor Enrico Colantoni, who starred in Person of Interest, Just Shoot Me and Veronica Mars, and filmmaker Karen Shopsowitz.

The audience will be able to meet a number of first responders in the 2017 film, plus their families, spouses and coworkers, to learn about how trauma experienced at work can affect their personal lives.

"You think that they're supposed to be strong, but they're not. They're human," said Colantoni. "And you realize that these are the people that we call when we need help."

The documentary's trailer:

Some of the people featured in the film include Kevin Davison, who is a paramedic from Nova Scotia who wrote a song called "When Those Sirens Are Gone," and Lisa Rouse, a Moncton officer who dispatched three officers when Justin Bourque was on a murderous rampage.

Shopsowitz said this documentary is different from others, because instead of interviews, the interactions with the first responders in the film feel more like conversations.

"I've never had a film before where people in it have become very dear friends," she said.

Video for Kevin Davison's 'When Those Sirens Are Gone':

Right before the film begins, there are some warnings for potential triggers.

However, Colantoni and Shopsowitz said in the years this film has been screened, they haven't had audience members say they felt as if they were reliving a traumatic event by watching the film.

Rather, people have said watching it has helped them, because they were able to see that they were not alone in their struggles, Shopsowitz explained.

Windsor audience reacts to documentary about first responders experiencing trauma

3 years ago
CBC News caught up with viewers who went to the first of two Windsor screenings of the film. 0:41

Not only that, but there's a lot of laughter in the film, she said.

"It's not at all one note of what they've gone through," said Shopsowitz. "They laugh."

The film will be screened at St. Clair Centre for the Arts on Wednesday at 4 p.m. and Thursday at 7 p.m.

It's free and open to the public, but people need to register on the Canadian Mental Health Association Windsor website.

With files from Windsor Morning


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