Langley filmmaker revamps award-winning documentary about his own addiction story

A Ravaged Soul: Anatomy of an Addict was originally released by v12films in 2014

Langley resident Brian MacDonald recalled sneaking around between classes to score drugs throughout the 1990s.

He was an instructor at the time, owning and operating Vancouver’s Broadcast College in the midst of a career that had taken him on-air and into the management side of the industry.

MacDonald told the Langley Advance Times that was also the time an addiction to heroin took over his life.

After cleaning up in 2002, MacDonald decided to follow a passion for film and start his own production company – v12films.

“We produce documentaries on the human condition and struggle,” he said. “Stories of redemption.”

MacDonald began with his own story and began to explore the journey of addiction through a one-hour documentary called A Ravaged Soul – first released in 2014.

“It takes a look at the downtown East Side of Vancouver,” MacDonald explains. “It’s an ugly story and hard to watch.”

The filmmaker said he left no stone unturned, frankly discussing sexual and physical abuse that preceded his addiction.

Key members of his life speak in A Ravaged Soul, including MacDonald’s mother and his ex-wife, the mother of his child.

He credits their son as his major inspiration for turning his life around.

“It’s a really emotional 60-minute ride,” he assured.

Stan Mingo, a former dealer from the Vancouver Downtown East Side also appears in the documentary, a man MacDonald referred to as “the king of the heroin trade.”

MacDonald said Mingo speaks openly about his experiences and a time when he even plotted to kill MacDonald.

READ MORE: VIDEO: National Film Board streams documentary shot in Langley for free

Altogether, the documentary charts MacDonald’s experiences of getting sober through his own eyes and the views of others who were and remain close to him.

“I guarantee it is as honest of a documentary that you will see and I’m proud of it,” MacDonald assured.

His first attempt at the production in 2014 led to an Official Selection award at the REEL Recovery Film Festival in New York.

MacDonald has since released a myriad of documentaries in the past five years, most of them dealing with drug addiction and the stigmas that go with the territory.

Today, the owner of v12films said he updated his inaugural work by updating the situation and some of the documentary’s technical aspects.

“The production value was weak so I brought it up to a more professional standard and up to speed,” he said.

With the stresses of COVID-19, MacDonald said the documentary had plenty for relevancy as drug use as, in his words, gone off the charts.

With other productions in the works including a dramatic pilot called The Orchestration of Audrey, MacDonald invited people to contact him at v12films.canada@gmail.com to view the documentary.

“If someone you love is suffering from addiction, please contact me to show them the film,” he said.

MacDonald is 18 years clean and moved to Langley 14 years ago to be closer to his ex-wife and son.

People can visit http://www.v12films.com/home to find out more about MacDonald and the production company.

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Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

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