Everywhere But Safe is a documentary film that examines public injection drug use in New York and charts a path toward healthier and safer communities. Filmed in New York City, Albany, Schenectady, and rural Columbia County, the film includes perspectives from people who inject drugs, public health experts, and government officials.
Everywhere but Safe is a film by Sawbuck Productions , Inc., a not-for-profit charitable organization 501(c3) that creates and distributes multiple media geared toward documenting the people, places, and things that operate on the fringes. The film was produced, directed and edited by the New York branch team members, Taeko Frost and Matt Curtis, who have direct service experience and see the impact of public injection everyday in their respective communities.
I’ve had the privilege to hear and be part of so many life stories of people who use drugs over the years. My favorite documentary, Titicut Follies by Fred Wiseman, is the perfect example of how film and storytelling can expose injustice and call for action. One of those calls to action is to recognize and address public injection drug use by supporting the integration of supervised injection facilities in NYC. To start telling that story, I co-directed the film “Everywhere But Safe: Public Injecting in New York” with my talented colleague and friend Matt Curtis. I’ve worked in public health and HIV prevention for over a decade and am currently the Executive Director of Washington Heights CORNER Project, a syringe exchange program in uptown Manhattan.
My first step into film making came through interning on the Frontline documentary The Lost American in 1997, which inadvertently led to a career in harm reduction in Eastern Europe, Asia, and more recently the United States. I got involved with Sawbuck to produce Reach for Me: Fighting to End the American Drug Overdose Epidemic, and then did soundtrack work for other Sawbuck films and co-directed the film Everywhere But Safe: Public Injecting in New York with the great Taeko Frost. Most of the time, though, I’m Policy Director at VOCAL New York, a grassroots, community organizing-based political organization that works to end the war on drugs, the HIV and Hepatitis C epidemics, and mass incarceration.