The Making of Recovery

With no crew, no lighting setup, and no audio technician, filmmaker Matthew Gillespie was given exclusive access into an addictions rehab facility for 5 months in hopes of breaking down the walls surrounding the stigma of mental health. The short documentary includes intimate one-on-one interviews with "guests" as they go through the program.

  • Matthew Gillespie
  • Matthew Gillespie
  • Geoff Doff, Jane Doff, Cathy Connors, Dean Fisher
  • Frank Howie, Brent Adams
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    26 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 31, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Matthew Gillespie

At the age of 17, Matthew Gillespie was approached by the Durham Region Police to produce a video on the subject of Drinking and Driving:

“My Drama teacher nominated me to work with the Police on a new project that, at the time, I felt dealt with such a clichéd subject matter-- every commercial on the TV was doing re-enactments. At the first creative meeting, an Officer raised his hand and, sure enough, said, let's do a re-enactment. I shook my head and said no way! I asked if anyone recent had passed away? Within a few days, I was interviewing a family one week before the funeral of their daughter..."

"Tragic Memories" was the result and went on to win Matthew Ontario Citizen of the Year Award, an Award of Recognition presented by Lieutenant Governor Hilary Weston, and an honourable recognition letter on behalf of the late Jim Flaherty. It would later be used by Young Drivers of Canada as a teaching tool, being screened in classrooms across the nation.

Matthew Gillespie is a graduate of Queen's University Film Studies and began his career as an Intern for International Award-Winning documentary filmmaker Peter Raymont ("Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire"). He later went on to train in post-production as part of The Debbie Travis Group, working as a Post-coordinator on shows such as "From The Ground Up" and "Maxed Out". He continued building on his skills in the world of Editing, training alongside Executive Producers, and working on hit lifestyle TV shows such as "Love It or List It", "Brides of Beverly Hills", and MTV's "Spectacle: With Elvis Costello".

During hiatus from production, many of his Executive Producers recognised his talent for filming and encouraged him to shoot and edit various pilot reels for major networks including HGTV, SLICE Network, Corus Entertainment, TLC, Discovery and Science Channel.

He continued his journey in the foray of Post-Production by working with some of Canada's top Executives and International Networks such as TLC, Discovery and Science Channel. He has achieved acclaim and accreditation for supervising and delivering several big-budgeted shows under extremely tight deadlines while meeting all schedule requirements. After Post-Supervising and Assistant Editing for Discovery's "Survivorman", Matthew was promoted to VP of Development for Les Stroud Productions Inc.

Using all of his learned skills, he would later go on to write, film and edit his own short documentary film on the nature of stigma associated with mental health, addiction, and recovery. The film titled "The Making of Recovery" is currently winning awards for Best Documentary at various Canadian and International Award Festivals.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

(On "The Making of Recovery") "The owners gave me a rare opportunity to go into their Centre, with only a camera and lav mic, to film what is considered to be completely forbidden from the world of camera crews. It is a sensitive environment and all guests were protected by confidentiality agreements. I thought after day-one, I would be packing up my equipment and asked to leave. Instead, I proved to everyone in there that I could be trusted to tell their stories. One-by-one, with only myself and camera in hand, guests began baring all and signing an appearance release form. At the end of the process, the comments I would hear the most is that they felt liberated and that there was a message that needed to get out there. I never once was doing this for notoriety-- at the time, I didn't even have a beginning, middle or end! When I finished the first cut, and messages came pouring in from people screening it saying that it was helping their family members gain a better understanding, I knew at that point what the message was..."