J.S. Kastner Productions NCR: Not Criminally Responsible Broadcast Premiere – CBC October 2013 GAT PR Press Summary
Interviews completed October 3 October 9 October 10 October 16
The Globe and Mail (Video) Interviewed: John Kastner Ottawa Citizen Interviewed: John Kastner, Julie Bouvier Dork Shelf Interviewed: John Kastner Next Projection Interviewed: John Kastner CBC Radio Corner Brook -‐ West Coast Morning Interviewed: John Kastner CBC Radio Gander -‐ Central Morning Interviewed: John Kastner
CBC Radio Winnipeg -‐ Information Radio Interviewed: John Kastner CBC Radio Cape Breton (Sydney) -‐ Information Morning Interviewed: John Kastner CBC Radio Thunder Bay -‐ Superior Morning Interviewed: John Kastner CBC Radio Windsor -‐ Windsor Morning Interviewed: John Kastner CBC Radio -‐ Saskatoon Morning Interviewed: John Kastner CBC Radio Kelowna -‐ Daybreak South Interviewed: John Kastner
CBC Radio Whitehorse -‐ A New Day Interviewed: John Kastner CBC Radio Victoria -‐ On The Island Interviewed: John Kastner October 17
CBC Radio Quebec City -‐ Quebec AM Interviewed: John Kastner
CBC Radio Sudbury -‐ Morning North Interviewed: John Kastner CBC Radio Ottawa -‐ Ottawa Morning Interviewed: John Kastner CBC Radio Yellowknife -‐ The Trailbreaker Interviewed: John Kastner CBC Radio Kitchener-‐Waterloo Interviewed: John Kastner CBC Radio -‐ Daybreak North Interviewed: John Kastner CBC Radio Regina -‐ The Morning Edition Interviewed: John Kastner CBC Radio Kamloops -‐ Daybreak Kamloops Interviewed: John Kastner CBC Radio Vancouver -‐-‐The Early Edition Interviewed: John Kastner Sirius XM – The Ward and Al Show Interviewed: John Kastner CJOB Radio Winnipeg – Interviewed John Kaster
A random act of violence Documentary traces the roads taken by a Cornwall stabbing victim and the stranger who wielded the knife
BY TONY LOFARO, OTTAWA CITIZEN OCTOBER 14, 2013 http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/random+violence/9034883/story.html
Julie Bouvier lay in a pool of blood at a Cornwall shopping mall, thinking her life was over. It was Oct. 7, 1999, and Bouvier had been stabbed several times in broad daylight by a stranger who attacked her at the door of a Walmart in front of numerous witnesses. She was 22 and about to be married. The stranger, Sean Clifton, then 31, was a loner with a troubled family life. He was bullied at school and found it hard to meet girls. Clifton was later diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic with an obsessive compulsive disorder. He had waited in the mall parking lot for the next pretty girl to walk by. Bouvier was the one he randomly chose.
“I felt like he had punched me. I happened to look down and that’s when I noticed the blood and at that point I knew I had been stabbed,” an emotional Bouvier recounts in the documentary NCR: Not Criminally Responsible. The documentary, by Emmy-‐winning Canadian filmmaker John Kastner, tells the story of two strangers bound forever by a random act of violence. It airs Thursday at 9 p.m. on CBC’s Doc Zone. A longer version will be shown Oct. 20 on CBC’s Documentary Channel. NCR makes a gentle plea for the rehabilitation of people suffering from mental illness. The documentary has been praised by mental health professionals and lawyers, as well as by psychiatrists at last month’s Canadian Psychiatric Association meeting in Toronto. It features interviews with Bouvier, her parents, Clifton, his doctors and police and includes scenes shot inside the Brockville Mental Health Centre, which rarely allows the kind of access that Kastner was able to get from hospital officials. “Like so many of these schizophrenics who become ill, Sean’s very intelligent and could have had a wonderful life if he hadn’t got ill,” said Kastner. “He probably would have been a teacher.” Bouvier doesn’t remember much of the attack. “I remember falling to the ground and thinking to myself if I fall maybe he’ll stop. I didn’t move, I just wanted to kind of play dead so that he wouldn’t hurt me anymore,” she said. Clifton, however, continued his assault. Bouvier suffered severe knife wounds to her hand, back and legs and required extensive surgery.
Bouvier’s parents have met Clifton and forgiven him. Clifton has written Bouvier a letter of apology which she reads on camera in the documentary, and has accepted his remorse. But while her parents have spoken to Clifton, Bouvier says she’s not ready to meet him face-‐to-‐face.
“When I read his letter of apology I felt his sincerity, it was more personal. He actually had written it and that’s exactly how he felt,” said Bouvier in a telephone interview. She now lives just outside Cornwall with the man she was engaged to marry at the time of the attack and has three children. Bouvier later wrote Clifton a letter, telling him she understood that it was his sickness that drove him to commit violence, and she encouraged him to continue taking his medication. “I’m glad that he’s taking his medication to protect himself as well as society. I don’t want him to harm anybody else.” Kastner said the documentary takes a hopeful approach to mental illness. He said when he first met Clifton he was quiet, but eventually opened up and became more comfortable talking about himself. “Sean’s story is very tragic, but one of the great things about Sean is that he is a bright man with a gift of the gab and very articulate,” said Kastner. “He’s better informed than I am, he’s got this curiosity to him and there’s a hint of that in the film. A lot of people could identify with Sean, he was a loner and had a troubled past, but you could talk to him. He’s not at all what you expect.” Kastner hopes the film helps destigmatize mental illness, but he also understands why Bouvier is reluctant to meet Clifton. “I think the day will come when she will be ready to see him, but it’s a huge arc that she’s travelled in less than a year (since working on the film). You have to give her a little bit of time on this,” said Kastner, who still keeps in contact with Clifton. Bouvier said she is more understanding of Clifton’s illness. “I understood a lot before reading the letter, and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be,” she said. “In my family, there wasn’t anybody who had ever suffered form mental illness so this is all new to us. We learned a lot from Sean’s story and we kind of know that he’s not a monster, it was his disease that caused him to do that on that day.”
This article also ran in the following outlet:
'Disturbing' doc takes an inside look at Sean Clifton and the perpetrator’s experience JOHN DOYLE | Last updated Thursday, Oct. 17 2013, 8:33 AM EDT
It is a fact that an effective way for one politician to attack another is by declaring that the opponent is “soft on crime.” We live in that kind of country now. Even the cats and dogs on the street are probably aware that the federal government is tough on crime, building more prisons and talking up the importance of victims’ rights. Look out, criminals. Lock ’em up and throw away the key. That kind of thing. In this context, the importance and greatness ofNCR: Not Criminally Responsible (CBC, 9 p.m. on Doc Zone) cannot be overstated. John Kastner’s fine and vividly illuminating documentary caused something of a sensation at the Hot Docs festival and has already been screened and much discussed in Britain. “Disturbing,” “controversial” and “provocative” are the adjectives used to describe it. I prefer “illuminating.” What it illuminates is what happened to both the victim and the perpetrator after a horrific violent crime. In October, 1999, in Cornwall, Ont., a man approached a woman, a total stranger to him, and stabbed her six times. The victim, Julie Bouvier, was 22 years old and thought she was dying there in a pool of blood. The attacker was a local, Sean Clifton, 31, known to police for his odd behaviour, but never
known as violent. Clifton stood dazed at the scene, and was arrested without fuss. Later he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic with an obsessive compulsive disorder. A voice in his head had told him to attack the next pretty girl he encountered. It’s hard to watch Bouvier’s parents as they describe seeing their daughter in hospital. They try, but are overcome at the memory of it and can’t speak. Bouvier herself is, at first, reluctant to be filmed in a way that makes her recognizable. She talks calmly about the pain and the multiple surgeries. You know there’s an ocean of roiling, complicated feelings under the calm exterior. What’s truly startling is the footage of Clifton inside the Brockville Mental Health Centre, interviews with those who treated him and Clifton himself. Some viewers will be astonished to hear one of the staff say, “Our job is to rehabilitate them. Whether it’s a shoplifter or somebody charged with two counts of murder.” Clifton is different now. He has written to the Bouvier family and met the parents. He hasn’t met Julie. He’s on medication and out there in society, but not in Cornwall. Is this safe for him and for the community? That’s the question that makes the documentary so compelling. We get unusual insight into the hospitalization and treatment of Clifton, who is a representative figure for the mentally ill. We’re asked to consider if we are comfortable with how Clifton emerges from years of care and treatment. A scene near the end, at a Tim Hortons, is very deftly done and one feels it is hardly an accident that it unfolds at a Tims, because we asked how, as Canadians, we really want to deal with people like Sean Clifton.
This week's top TV tips The Windsor Star | Oct 12, 2013 http://www.windsorstar.com/This+week+tips/9029729/story.html
THURSDAY Doc Zone Emmy Award-‐winning documentarian John Kastner is behind this unforgettable tale of a psychiatric patient struggling to rebuild his life after making a savage attack on a stranger in a shopping on the orders of 'the devil.' Sean Clifton was the perpetrator and now that he has completed his treatment his victim's family is determined to force him to remain under the hospital's control. The film, entitled NCR: Not Criminally Responsible, follows Clifton -‐ who spent 12 years in Brockville Mental Health Centre -‐ through a dramatic treatment program in an attempt to answer the question of whether violent psychiatric patients can be rehabilitated. CBC
Documentary explores mental illness and criminal responsibility The Globe and Mail | Oct. 16 2013 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/arts-‐video/documentary-‐explores-‐mental-‐illness-‐and-‐ criminal-‐responsibility/article14889024/
Interviewed John Kastner – No archive available online
NCR: Not Criminally Responsible gets new life
John Kastner documentary coming to TV Oct. 17 and 20, and being used by legal and mental health professionals for training By: Martin Knelman Entertainment, Published on Wed Oct 02 2013 http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/2013/10/02/ncr_not_criminally_responsible_gets_new_life.html
The documentary NCR: Not Criminally Responsible by John Kastner tells the story of Sean Clifton, who savagely attacked a stranger in a psychotic frenzy and tried to stab her to death in front of scores of witnesses, and follows him through treatment and back onto the streets.
Five months after its world premiere at Hot Docs created a sensation, John Kastner’s NCR: Not Criminally Responsible is having a major impact on professionals in the mental health and legal worlds as well as documentary film lovers. No one who attended the premiere in April will forget the moment at the end of the screening when the victim, Julie Bouvier, went public, appearing onstage at the Isabel Bader Theatre, along with her parents, to show that she had come to understand and forgive Sean Clifton, the knife-‐wielding stranger who attacked, disfigured and almost killed her in a Cornwall, Ont., mall in 1999.
And now, having had just a handful of small screenings, NCR is about to reach a much larger audience. Last week, Kastner screened it for a room packed with 170 psychiatrists at the annual conference of the Canadian Psychiatric Association. Some psychiatrists were stunned that Bouvier and her parents, so angry at first with her attacker, could forgive him. They wanted to know what changed their minds. The answer, according to Kastner, is that the film let them see the man beneath the so-‐called monster. Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival has selected the doc for a special screening Sunday, Oct. 6, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in connection with Mental Awareness Week. Good luck getting tickets; the event has been sold out for weeks. It comes to CBC Television in a cut-‐down version on Oct. 17 via the Doc Zone series; the full-‐length film will be shown Oct. 20 on CBC’s Documentary Channel. And soon, on the NFB website, you’ll be able to download it or buy the DVD. Even Kastner, who has won four Emmy Awards, is surprised by the overwhelming response. “I’ve had many films that attracted considerable attention but never anything else like this,” he says. As The Guardian said in a huge spread when the doc was shown at a festival in Sheffield, what’s unique about NCR is that the story is told from both sides, by the random victim and her mentally ill attacker. But the most significant and unanticipated reaction has come from the legal community. “Our goal was to help destigmatize psychiatric patients for the general public, “ Kastner explains, making people understand and even empathize with a guy who had committed a horrifying act of violence. The response of the audience shows that goal was achieved. But what’s amazing is the way the legal community has jumped on the film, with one request after another to use the film for training, including crown attorneys who appear at Ontario Review Board hearings but have never been inside a forensic psychiatric hospital. That’s why watching the film is a revelation. Indeed, a crown attorney from the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, who organized a screening for new crowns as part of a course, told Kastner: “They loved it. Now they can picture what actually goes on in these places. We’ll be using it in the future. There’s nothing out there remotely like it.” Why has this doc generated such a strong response from professionals? Because it’s a breakthrough. For the first time, NCR lets people experience the whole process, from the moment a mentally ill person commits a violent crime, through the hospitalization and treatment of the perpetrator, and then the gradual release into the community, along with consideration of all the safety issues that raises. “These institutions have been hidden from the media and the public for decades,” Kastner explains. “For the first time the film shows a real sense of the treatment process. Thus, for many professionals, it becomes an invaluable introduction to the issue.” Dealing with the fallout has become a time-‐consuming occupation for the veteran filmmaker. He has been invited to Rideau Hall by the Governor General for a mental health event. NCR was selected to open a convention of Canadian psychologists in Vancouver. It is being used as a teaching tool by Osgoode Hall Law School, York University’s criminology program and Ryerson University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. Olivia Chow plans to screen it for her constituents at the Bloor Cinema on Nov. 19. In mid-‐November, Kastner will be in Ireland for the Cork Film Festival, which is not only screening his doc but creating a half-‐day discussion event called “Battle for the Brain.” Even if you don’t have a professional or direct personal connection with the subject, NCR is stunning as human drama, reality division.
NCR broadcast on CBC’s Doc Zone Posted on October 10th, 2013 • 0 Comments http://povmagazine.com/blog/view/ncr-‐broadcast-‐on-‐cbcs-‐doc-‐zone
NCR: Not Criminally Responsible (dir. John Kastner, 2013) / Photo courtesy Geoff George John Kastner’s critically-‐acclaimed and thought-‐provoking documentary NCR: Not Criminally Responsible (POV editor Marc Glassman called it a “…moving and powerful film”) will have its world broadcast premiere on CBC’s Doc Zone. The documentary premieres Thursday, Oct. 17 at 9pm EST, with an expanded festival version premiering Sunday, Oct. 20 at 8pm on the documentary channel. NCR had its Canadian theatrical premiere at Hot Docs 2013 and was featured in our summer issue. To go behind-‐the-‐scenes of the film, read our recent profile of John Kastner, the “Dostoevsky of Documentary.”
Interview: John Kastner By Andrew Parker | October 16, 2013 http://dorkshelf.com/2013/10/16/interview-‐john-‐kastner/
Although he’s won numerous awards, including several Emmys, for his work over the past several decades for his work in trying o break down social stigmas through documentary filmmaking, John Kastner hasn’t had as big of a response to one of his films as he has had with NCR: Not Criminally Responsible (debuting CBC Doc Zone Thursday, October 17th at 9:00pm). The director behind The Lifer and The Lady and Life With Murder, has seen a groundswell of support for his latest effort, and the effects are being heard even in parliament. “Just last night (at a function) I ran into Laureen Harper,” he said during a phone call late last week. “She said she was aware of the movie and she said she wanted to see it, and I gave her a copy of the film. I can’t think of another point in my career where something like that happened or ever would have happened.” With mental health destigmitization front and centre in social culture, the notion of rehabilitation for people branded NCR by the courts – meaning they are not of sound enough mind to stand trial or comprehend the charges being brought against them – has become as hot button an issue as ever. In his film, Kastner documents the all around tragic story of Sean Clifton, the accused, and Julie Bouvier, the
victim. In 1999 in Cornwall, Ontario outside of a Wal-‐Mart, Clifton heard voices in his head related to his paranoid schizophrenia telling him to go out and stab the prettiest girl he could, find. Tragically it was Bouvier, who doesn’t appear on camera in the documentary, afraid for her safety. Her parents appear openly and disdainful towards the notion that Clifton – who has a restraining order stating he can come within hundreds of kilometres of Cornwall ever again as a result of his release – could ever be released after a decade in the hospital and not be charged. Then, when the film debuted at Hot Docs earlier in the year, something had changed. Julie came out on stage at the film’s premiere to openly forgive Sean for what happened between them. Not long after, Julie’s parents did, as well. “Well, the short version is that they saw the movie.” Kastner said. “Psychiatrists in particular have been asking me how that even happened, because as you see in the film there is a lot of anger there. To get Sean to open up on camera was difficult. They don’t call it paranoia for nothing. But with Julie, she was still clearly terrified and her parent incredibly angry and not wanting to understand.” Kastner followed Sean, released under supervision of a court appointed liaison and living with a fellow former patient, as he attempts to put his life back together again. Concurrently, he spoke with Julie. The filmmaker not only shows both sides of a thorny issue, but also poignantly and skilfully displace a wealth of empathy for both parties. “You can’t have empathy for one side of the story and not for the other.” Kastner said. “ You can see with Sean that he is clearly sick, and we see him largely when he’s better. You can still see him going through these OCD rituals like moving a chair back and forth and in and out of position over and over again, and you have to picture what it’s like not only having lived with that your whole life, but how for a decade of that, those actions are branded to that of someone people would readily brand as a killer. And with Julie, I don’t think there’s any other way of understanding her situation because it’s a very obvious, deep, and more imminently relatable fear.” A lot of the empathy on display comes from a kind of unspoken shame that’s visible on Clifon’s face throughout, the kind of almost childlike look of someone who will be unable to forget that they have done something deeply wrong. “I’d say that’s a fairly astute observation. There’s definitely that shame, and I know that Sean was still hesitant because of the stigma attached to his situation. But the support he’s been getting has been great. I mean, there are always people who are going to just insist on a more cut, dry, and brutal sense of justice, and I think Sean has only really heard from maybe one person on that side. But the majority has been incredibly supportive and empathetic, and the movie and Julie have been a huge part of that.”
The film actually began as a separate beast entirely meant to document the day to day work of forensic psychiatrists before Kastner met Sean. He cites the films he made prior to getting such great access to Sean while he was still in hospital prior to his release, especially given how normally closed off such institutions would be to camera crews. But now, with the film completed, the work has created a groundswell of interest within the psychiatric community, particularly those who deal with NCR cases, who see the film as a means of gaining understanding within a larger community outside of the mental health profession and the courts. Talks of the film being used as an educational tool have Kaster proud, humbled, and excited by the prospects for his film in the future. “(Psychiatrists) really connect with the film because they are often dealing with patients that in some cases are branded by people as monsters. They sometimes can’t believe that anyone who watches the film, particularly a victim, could necessarily understand something that sometimes takes them a while to realize, as well. There’s been talk of using it as an educational too, even for Crown Attorneys, who normally don’t have this kind of specific training or any real protocol or frame of reference. And that’s exciting.” NCR: Not Criminally Responsible debuts on Doc Zone on CBC Thursday, October 17th at 9:00pm EST. The full version of the film that screened at Hot Docs will also play on Sunday, October 20th on Documentary at 8:00pm EST.
3 Canadian Docs coming to TV this Fall! http://canadianfilm review.com /3-‐canadian-‐docs-‐heading-‐to-‐tv-‐this-‐fall/
Coming to TV in Canada in the very near future are 3 documentaries highlighting 3 very different subject matters! Be sure to check out LIVING DOLLS, NOT CRIMINALLY RESPOSIBLE and GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE. See the trailers for these great docs here!
World broadcast premiere October 17 on CBC’s Doc Zone – 9PM EST Also airs Extended Festival Version October 20 on CBC’s documentary – 8PM EST directed by John Kastner This feature documentary tells the story of a young man who stabbed a complete stranger while gripped by psychosis. Twelve years later, his victim, who miraculously survived, is terrified to learn that he’s out. With unprecedented access to the patient, the victim, and the mental institution, the film looks at both sides of the debate and puts a human face on the complex ethical issues raised.
MADE IN CANADA INTERVIEW: JOHN KASTNER – CANADA’S GUTSY DOCUMENTARIAN October 14, 2013 Interviews, Made in Canada, Made in Canada Interview, Special Edition http://nextprojection.com /2013/10/14/interview-‐john-‐kastner-‐canadas-‐gutsy-‐ docum entarian/
Editor’s Notes: John Kastner’s latest documentary, Not Criminally Responsible, comes to CBC for a world broadcast premiere on DOC ZONE October 17th at 9:00 PM ET. John Kastner is an award winning Canadian documentarian and if you haven’t seen any of his films, this is a call saying that you should. After acting at a very young age, Kastner took on directing documentaries and
went on to win four Emmys, and five Emmy nominations for his films Four Women, Fighting Back, Life With Murder, and The Lifer And The Lady. I recently had a Kastner film marathon and it was a hard watch. With tissues on one side and a notebook in the other, I found myself crying and engaging in ideas that were once unapproachable to me. The subjects he takes on are hard hitting and are sensitive in nature. Take for example, Fighting Back, the tale of children struggling with leukemia, fighting for their lives with the heart-‐wrenching support of their parents. Then there’s Life With Murder, the story of a family who deals with the consequences of their daughter’s murder while supporting the son who killed her. In The Lifer And The Lady a man with a violent past, tries to reform, and get parole to be with the love of his life. In his latest effort, Not Criminally Responsible, Kastner brings us the portrait of a non-‐violent young man who suddenly savagely attacks “the prettiest woman he could find.” He suffers from a mental disorder, and is found to not be criminally responsible for the crime, but is sentenced to time in a forensic psychiatric facility. Twelve years later, he’s been treated and doing amazingly well, and applies for a conditional discharge. His victim and everyone involved in the case must deal with the consequences and the fear that comes with such a possibility.
Not-‐Criminally-‐Responsible These films are real and stark in their ability to grab at the essence of human nature. Kastner has a way of making the image and the moving subject a relatable person as opposed to the monster we might perceive them as, or as in the case of Fighting Back, the people become more than just their tragic circumstances. I found myself disturbed and strangely comforted by the idea that none of us are alone when it comes to varied reactions to the schema life has us feel. The real world can be way more fascinating in its silence and in its moments of too much information. It’s when the killer says, “I just want a chance to be better,” and truly believe it that all the notions of us versus them go out the window. It’s a pill that is hard to swallow, but if reality television is the mode of entertainment now, the documentary should be its mentor. While
the world watches people compete for a prize for a fake glory, documentarians are bringing us true to life stories where sometimes the trial is just for a new chance at life. I had a chance to talk to John Kastner recently and I asked him a few things about his methods in documentary filmmaking. Jacqueline: I know this is probably a common question that gets asked of you, but why on earth would you chose these dark subjects? In many ways, they feel like a kick in the gut sometimes, a much deserved one. John Kastner: I tend to do films that fall into one or two groups: about crime and corrections and/or health issues. Finally I found a subject that combines both! I had no knowledge about mental health really, experience with it, and never been to a shrink. It was a propsed to me by a forensic psychiatrist Dr. Lisa Ramshaw that I make Not Criminally Responsible. To my surprise and great joy, I just fell in love with this whole field. Jacqueline: How do you create these moments with the people you document? How do you generate these palpable moments? John Kastner: First of all, I tell anyone who works with me and talks with the patients that you have to go in there as a human being first and a journalist second. When people are this ill and fragile, you have to put their interests above the interests of the program. Sometimes it’s very hard to do because you can see some amazing things, but with film being an amazing medium, these things can’t be too good for the patient. Sometimes it’s too much and you have to take it out. Now that’s the starting point. You have to make sure you know that you’re going to protect them and do something that is in their best interests; because they come to be suspicious. But if you really mean it and they feel that you are there for them, eventually most people will open up to you gradually. But it does take time. It takes financial support too because that time is expensive. To get up to Brockville continually did take that support. Luckily we had this magnificent support from the National Film Board, the CBC, and the Documentary Channel. Otherwise, it would not have been possible. Jacqueline: Do you get attached to your subjects? I’m thinking here of your film Fighting Back. That must have been a demanding film… John Kastner: Oh definitely, some more than others. I mean that film, aside from this project, that film, tore me up so much. It’s the only film I’ve made that I won’t look at again. I just loved Michael and his family. Actually at one point the crew and I fled because we just couldn’t take it. It was horrible. We broke off and I came home from London. A friend of mine told me, “Are you crazy? Just finish it, keep going, and decide what you want to do with it later. But don’t give up.” So we dragged ourselves back to finish it. I became close to Michael and his family and it tore me up. You have to have a heart of stone not to be affected by all that. Jacqueline: In The Lifer And The Lady and in Not Criminally Responsible you give us unheard tales of redemption… John Kastner: People often ask me why I focus on such dark subjects. Well, I start with dark subjects, but I end up filming triumphs of the human spirit. I look for somebody who is fighting; who’s trying to climb out of some dark pit of their lives. That, to me, is the most moving thing.
I do a lot of films on crime, but I don’t do something like mafia hit men. I’m interested in parole. They may have done something terrible, but they’re trying to hack their way out of that hole, and be a part of the world again. It is hard to go into that world though, but there’s a reason for my explorations in these subjects. When I was nineteen, I read Dostoyevsky ‘s Crime and Punishment. Back then, there we didn’t see this much homeless on the streets. We used call them derelicts and if you saw them, you pretty much averted your eyes because it felt embarrassing. Now homelessness is rampant and you acknowledge it and you have to face it. There’s a scene in Crime and Punishment where the main character Rodion Raskolnikov witnesses a derelict being partially run over by a carriage. The man was all filthy and disgusting; most people would have looked away and ignored him. Raskolnikov crosses the street, picks the guy up, and carries him home. Dostoyevsky is a genius with character and tells the story of this man who was once an excellent civil servant with a daughter he was so proud of. I don’t remember how they came to grief, but the daughter had to become a prostitute. I mean, if I was nineteen and had seen that, I would have walked on past, but what a thing: to tell society to look and care. I want to introduce you to these people so you can care about them. That influenced me so very much. In a way, I’ve been trying to do that with my documentaries. I was an actor and I played murderers, for example. You have to do the emotional research. What if I was like this? You don’t think about how unpleasant it will be to relate to a murderer in a play, you just do it. If I hadn’t had that story, I couldn’t make these films. There’s a great quote : “Nothing human is alien to me.” (Terentius) and it’s a wonderful sentiment because it could happen to anyone. You place yourself in those shoes because it’s entirely possible one day you might find yourself in them. Jacqueline: With Not Criminally Responsible, it must have been quite a thing to see Julie Bouvier overcome her trauma, and then going public with her parents to forgive Sean Clifton (who attacked, disfigured, and almost killed Julie), at the premiere in April… John Kastner: They are almost saintly. It’s hard to believe that in this dark world there are people that can forgive. I love the Bouviers and it was an incredible moment. What can Canada do to support its documentaries and documentarians? There was a time when documentaries were considered cod liver oil: unpleasant medicine. The drama and comedy of real life is so delicious and so compelling. If you attended any of the screenings of documentary film, people sitting there are so riveted and caught up. I think the difficulty is the short attention span in art nowadays. There’s this wonderful program at Hot Docs where they go to schools and show them real documentaries. Stuff like that gets everyone interested from the get go. To envelope the great chaos in a real life story and bring it to the young people. I think that’s a great thing. Documentaries are considered the national art form of Canada. We’re pioneers in it. The cinéma vérité, our National Film Board, and the techniques we use, they’re all influential for all film genres around the world. When you open up the paper to see the film listings, consider a documentary. There are a lot of great storytellers out there and as Canadian documentary filmmakers we are telling our national stories. These are our stories, our heroes, and we should watch and listen.
Interview with John Kastner – NCR: NOT CRIMINALLY RESPONSIBLE
Dug Stevenson interviews John Kastner for his film NCR: Not Criminally Responsible.
World broadcast premiere October 17 on CBC’s Doc Zone – 9PM EST Also airs Extended Festival Version October 20 on CBC’s documentary – 8PM EST Directed by John Kastner, this National Film Board feature documentary about violence, mental illness, and the rights of victims tells the story of a troubled young man who stabbed a complete stranger 6 times in a crowded shopping mall while gripped by psychosis. Twelve years later, his victim, who miraculously survived, is terrified to learn that he’s out, living in the community under supervision. He’s applying for an absolute discharge, and if he succeeds, he’ll no longer be required to take the anti-‐psychotic drugs that control his mental illness. With unprecedented access to the patient, the victim, and
the mental institution, the film looks at both sides of the debate and puts a human face on the complex ethical issues raised.
The importance and greatness of Not Criminally Responsible Posted by Diane Wild in Reality, Lifestyle & Documentary http://www.tv-‐eh.com/2013/10/17/the-‐importance-‐and-‐greatness-‐of-‐not-‐criminally-‐responsible/ From John Doyle of the Globe and Mail…. ‘Disturbing’ doc takes an inside look at Sean Clifton and the perpetrator’s experience
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