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This Week in Docs: Cracked Not Broken

May 13th, 2009 by Rebecca Harper Editor

This week we highlight the film Cracked Not Broken in Hulu’s documentaries section. The film is an intimate look at a day in the life of an average woman with a surprising habit: she’s a drug addict who sells herself to earn more money for crack. Hulu recently had a Q&A with the man behind the camera, filmmaker Paul Perrier. He also wrote a guest blog entry for Hulu, which you can check out below. — Rebecca Harper

Cracked Not Broken

First of all, thank you to all the Hulu viewers who have watched and reviewed or commented on Cracked Not Broken. Much like the last visual you see before the credits roll at the end of the film (above), I had a hunch that people would either love or hate this documentary. As the 16 pages of reviews show on this site, four years later, that is still the case. I personally love all the reviews, because as a filmmaker when you can make anyone react to a piece of your work, then you have done something right. I would like to take this opportunity to respond to some of the comments that were raised in these reviews.

Many viewers wanted to know what has happened to Lisa since the film was first screened in 2005. I am happy to say that after a couple of years of publicly promoting the film at screenings, television appearances (including Oprah), radio and educational programs, she decided to separate herself from the “limelight” and focus on her recovery. Lisa left Toronto over a year and a half ago and got into a year-long program at Empathy House for Women, and has been clean and sober ever since. I hope this gives anyone with addiction problems some hope!

People often compare this documentary to the television show Intervention, although I don’t consider my film to be an intervention at all. I don’t believe that interventions work. When this piece “happened” in February of 2004, I thought it would be an interesting concept to see if a film could help save its subject. I never said “You have to stop doing drugs!!!” because I don’t believe that people should push their morals on others. In fact, I was less concerned about her drug intake and more concerned as to what she was doing in order to get her drugs. I am actually pro drugs. I think drugs do a lot more good in this world than bad. Let’s save the money being wasted on the “war on drugs”… like the “war on terrorism,” it ain’t going to work. What the world needs more of is brave people like Lisa who will let their personal life stories out into the universe to raise awareness and educate people on all sorts of important issues. What would you have done if you were in her shoes?

I also wanted to thank everyone else who got involved with the film. Although it was just Lisa and I in the hotel room that day, it has taken an army of dedicated people to get it where it is today. The list is too long to write and I know I would hate to leave some important people off of it. The film would not have made the impact it has without the involvement and hard work of executive producer Tom Powers of Open Door whose commitment to “content that matters” is also inspiring.

From the age of 12 when I first started taking photographs and making Super 8 mm movies, it has always been a dream of mine to make films. I remember watching Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” At the end of the talk, he presents his wife with a birthday cake and says, “Have you figured out the head fake? It’s not about how to achieve your dreams: It’s about how to lead your life… Have you figured out the second head fake? This talk is not for you, it’s for my kids.”

To my wife Nicol, I would like to say “Happy Birthday” on the 20th and thank you for somehow dealing with all the madness that this piece has brought to our lives… To my girls Dylan and Taegan, this and all my work is for you. You both inspire me every single day.

Thanks for your time and interest. To find out more about what happened after the screening of this film in 2005 please visit the film website at www.crackednotbroken.com. Limited signed and numbered DVDs are still available for purchase.

P@ul Perrier