“[Drug use] has affected me and I have seen lots of people go down the wrong paths, like so many other towns, it's just too common.”
These are the words of 19-year-old Jobi Starick, who growing up in Smithton couldn’t ignore the of issue drug use in the small town.
Where some people might have felt powerless to change what they observed happening around them, Starick took action.
He is the director of the film Two Trains – A film about choices which explores the issue of drug use in the Smithton community.
“It was a big issue and a lot of people are getting quite down about it and I just kind of took on the challenge,” Starick said.
“We just wanted to get a whole community view.”
Starick partnered with Rural Health Tasmania and approached Smithton High School and Circular Head Christian School to gather a team of passionate young people to work on the documentary.
“Realising the power of using young people's minds to overcome problems I am really interested in and really passionate about,” he said.
The film brings together experts with people who have experienced drug addiction to explore the issue, particularly the rise in the use of the drug ice.
“Even if you cant see it, it’s always there and it's really hard to comprehend,” Starick said.
Just growing up here in such a small town where you do know really everyone it's so hard for people to come out and talk about things ... people really bottled it up and took to being really secretive about it.
“Just growing up here in such a small town where you do know really everyone it's so hard for people to come out and talk about things, it's so hard for people to listen even sometimes, or take in comments so people really bottled it up and took to being really secretive about it.
“I just don’t think that’s the right way to tackle issues and especially ones that are on a community scale.”
Something that is apparent in the film, and which Jobi said was also apparent in the making of it is the strong sense of community in the small town.
“It was interesting to talk to people in the community about especially because there has been that stigma around it for so long,” he said.
“Lots of people were fairly wary and it took a lot of guts for some people to come and talk to us.”
Growing up in Smithton Starick said he did at times find himself under pressure to try drugs.
“I have lots of friends who delved into that kind of thing and it’s hard because lots of people actually are really trying to be persuasive ,” he said.
“Especially now that it's in high schools and [other places] there's so much peer pressure.”
A strong network of supportive friends and being strong willed helped Starick resist the pressure.
He believes human stories and experiences are the most powerful ways to encourage young people to make positive choices about drug use.
Film is an eternal way to be able to share these stories and Jobi said is a good medium to start opening up conversations about the issue of drug use.
“A film lasts forever once you've made it so it's an endless tool you can pass on forever, essentially for free, once you've made it,” Starick said.
For the students involved in making the film, the process in itself was a powerful influencer.
“The young people are the ones that are going to be facing it in the future, if they can get some kind of education on it now as well as working towards something that is a prevention tool they become really empowered and become change-makers themselves,” Starick said.
“It not only showed them entrepreneurial skills and going out and doing somethign for the greater good, but they really found that sense of passion … it was really moving actually for them to come on board so much.”
For Starick himself making the film taught him about himself and the community.
“I learnt so much, so much about the community, and the topic and also about myself and filmmaking skills,” he said.
“Once I got to the end of it I just wanted to go back to the start and film everything again.”
The experience has ignited a passion for film-making in the 19-year-old who said he is continuing to make films.
The film was made possible with a Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal ABC Heywire grant.
- Watch the film here: vimeo.com/191116043