Move over Grey’s Anatomy, there’s a new medical drama coming to screens and it was created by local filmmaker and arts advocate Dasha Novak. Named after the communications code for accident involving injury, 10-50, the show revolves around the lives of six young downtown emergency unit workers managing medical crises on a daily basis, whilst tackling insecurities, relationships, mental health and addictions in their private lives.
There’s plenty of complex psychology at play the Whitecroft resident, writer, director and producer of 10-50 explained.
“The main characters are affected by childhood trauma without really having a memory of it. They have developed somewhat compromised coping skills in dealing with daily stress, with work, with social situations, that, in many cases, are destructive.”
In researching the storyline and characters Novak interviewed mental health workers and paramedics. She cited addiction expert Dr. Gabor Maté as having particular influence.
“He has worked in [Vancouver’s] Downtown Eastside for the last 30 years and talks about addiction as a disconnection, and reduction of self harm in terms of connecting to other things that have deeper meaning,” Novak said. “My approach to the main story line is showing this search for connection.”
Another place where inspiration was found for 10-50 was Sun Peaks. For one, the community helped Novak explore her own ideas of connection while conceiving the fictional story.
“For me, the mountain is a place where I bond, people being outside doing things together,” she said. “Working here as a ski patroller and dispatcher reinforced that.”
“At the same time, I could see how—not everybody here obviously—but some people are so good at helping others, yet are so lost in their own struggle to find connection.”
The first iteration of 10-50 was set at a fictional ski town in northern B.C., with its characters employed by the local mountain rescue team.
Early trailers of the production featured outdoor scenes shot in Sun Peaks outside the ski area boundary. Local skiers Jan Glowczynski, Andrew Helton and Bry Palmer featured as stunt performers while local filmmaker Matt Brooks provided support behind the camera.
Ultimately the plot of 10-50 was modified to reflect a more urban setting to reach a broader audience.
“The mountain resort location will now be used only for a small part of the show,” she said. “Overall, the small community of a ski resort gave the show a good start.”
Novak has worked in the film industry since 2002, launching her own production company, Snow Crow Productions, in 2010. Locally she’s founded the Green Art Festival Association which showcases art and film in Sun Peaks and Whitecroft.
Novak hopes production of 10-50 will continue in Vancouver in the fall, for an anticipated release date in 2020. Its format as a television series, web series or film is still to be determined. For more information see 10-50.ca.