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A 20-minute dramatic film depicting the impact of asthma on snowcrab processing workers, their families and communities in this province, will be publicly screened on Friday, Nov. 10. A Second Wind was produced and directed by Donna Downey at Memorial’s Distance Education and Learning Technologies (DELT), and is based on the research of Memorial sociology professor Dr. Barbara Neis.
The screening is part of the Women's Studies Speakers Series. A panel discussion with the film’s creators, researchers and others with knowledge of this issue will follow.
“A Second Wind seeks to convey the issues and dilemmas crab asthma creates for workers, their families and employers,” explained Dr. Neis, who is the co-director or SafetyNet at the university.
Designed as an educational and discussion tool, the film will be used to pilot and test a community-based approach to policy innovation in occupational health.
The film is based on a play that was written by Dr. Ian Feltham, a physician and co-investigator on the original crab asthma research project. In 2003, SafetyNet commissioned a shortened version for a workshop, and that became the basis for the film script, which was written by Lois Brown, who also stars in the film. Funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and in-kind support from DELT helped produce the 20-minute piece.
The film premiered at the 17th annual St. John's Women's Film Festival in October, although it had been pre-screened with key audiences. “When we pre-screened the drama with some plantworkers ... they thought it should definitely be shown to plantworkers. On reflection, they thought everyone needs to be aware of this issue,” said Dr. Neis.
She noted that crab asthma can become chronic. “Once you've got it, you're in trouble. Most people don't have job options, so they keep working. That's one of the things that keeps these issues invisible.”
All are welcome to attend the free Nov. 10 screening and discussion at 4 p.m. in room A-1046, of the Arts and Administration Building on Memorial University’s St. John's campus.
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