Talking at Night
| 6 min 49 s
Selections and Awards
Ruth Shaw Award (Best of Saskatchewan) Yorkton Film Festival 2018
Saskatoon’s Mobile Crisis Centre provides 24/7 crisis resolution to people in distress. Its workers take calls from individuals in unpredictable and urgent situations, and respond in person when help is needed most. Director Eric Thiessen captures the behind-the-scenes experiences of the crisis centre’s staff, crafting a compelling observational portrait of a critically needed but largely unknown service.
Saskatoon’s Mobile Crisis Centre provides 24/7 crisis resolution to people in distress. Its workers take calls from individuals in unpredictable and urgent situations, and respond in person when help is needed most. For almost 40 years, this non-profit organization has been answering to the needs of its small prairie city, confidentially addressing a wide range of issues, from suicide prevention to child abuse. As frontline responders in conjunction with police, social services and emergency healthcare providers, they are a vital part of a community that depends on them day and night. Director Eric Thiessen captures the behind-the-scenes experiences of the crisis centre’s staff, crafting a compelling observational portrait of a critically needed but largely unknown service.
Doc Lab Saskatchewan
When director Eric Thiessen learned about the Mobile Crisis Centre in his hometown of Saskatoon, he became interested in the experiences of the crisis workers who are vital to the operation of the non-profit organization. It was immediately clear that making a documentary about these workers was the best way to convey their challenging and unpredictable world and offer a glimpse into the range and volume of crises experienced in Saskatoon on a given night. The centre receives over 26,000 calls a year, an overwhelming number in a city of approximately only 250,000. Thiessen felt that “the crises displayed in [the film] are relatable and understandable to almost anyone. I think it’s a great reinforcement that mental health, addictions and depression are much more common than we may tend to realize, but also that free and professional help is always available to those that need it.”
Working closely with producer Jon Montes and director/mentor Robin Schlaht, Thiessen was provided with the opportunity to concentrate on writing and directing, with the support of a seasoned filmmaking team behind him. “Because this was my first observational documentary, working with experienced mentors at every major stage of the project was very helpful,” says Thiessen.
Doc Lab Saskatchewan Filmmakers: Kristin Catherwood, Eric Thiessen, Louise BigEagle
Doc Lab Saskatchewan is a collaborative training initiative between the National Film Board of Canada, Creative Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative, launched in the spring of 2017. Three emerging filmmakers were selected from an open call for submissions to individually create short documentaries, from concept to post-production, with a focus on visual storytelling. The successful applicants were provided mentorship and production support to develop films that shared perspectives about their home province, aiding their career development in non-fiction filmmaking.
Interview with Eric Thiessen
Written and Directed by
Director of photography
Sound recordist and assistant editor
Technical support – editing
Recording & re-recording
Jasmine St. Marie
Talking at Night
Devin McAdam and PAVED Arts
Robyn & David Parker
Michelle Van Beusekom
Centre operations manager
Katja De Bock
Dara Jade Moats
About the NFB
The NFB is Canada’s public producer and distributor of award-winning documentaries, auteur animation, interactive stories and participatory experiences, working with talented creators across the country. The NFB is taking action to combat systemic racism and become a more open and diverse organization, while working to strengthen Indigenous-led production and gender equity in film and digital media. NFB productions have won more than 7,000 awards, including 12 Oscars. To access this unique content, visit NFB.ca.