dope is death image

Dope is Death

by Mia Donovan
Product Availability
Institutional, Home-Use, Community Screenings, Broadcast, Theatrical, Educational, Festivals, VOD
About the Film

In 1973, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, along with fellow Black Panthers and the Young Lords, combined community health with radical politics to create the first acupuncture detoxification program in America. DOPE IS DEATH explores how this form of radical harm reduction was a revolutionary act toward the government programs that transfixed the lives of black and brown communities throughout the South Bronx.

DOPE IS DEATH utilizes an abundant archive while giving us insight into how the acupuncture clinic rose to prominence and, despite funding challenges, still functions to this day. Some of those who benefited from the program became acupuncturists themselves. Dr. Mutulu’s legacy is cemented within this profound story of community healing and activism. (Amir George of True/False)

2020  ·  1h21m  ·  Canada
English subs
Festivals and Awards
Toronto Black Film Festival , Closing Film
DOC NYC, Official Selection
DokuFest, Official Selection
DOXA Documentary Film Festival, Official Selection
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Canadian Premiere
Cleveland International Film Festival, Official Selection
True/False, World Premiere
August 20, 2023
Toronto Pan Afrikan Film Festival (Toronto, ON)
May 26, 2023
Hamilton Black Film Festival (Hamilton, ON, Canada)
April 13, 2023
The Hologram School of Medicine (Berlin, Germany)
March 24, 2023
Kaslo Community Acupuncture Society (Kaslo, BC, Canada)
March 2, 2023
Cinema Politica Fredericton (Fredericton, NB, Canada)
April 4, 2022
Cinema Politica Concordia (Montreal, QC, Canada)
Mia Donovan
Mia Donovan
Additional Editors
Myriam Magassouba, Ryan Mullins
Original Music
Ramachandra Borcar
Sound Designer and Re-recording Mixer
Cory Rizos
Online Editor
Samantha Neboschizkij
Production Manager
Marina Serrão
Associate Producer
Katie McKay
Line Producer
Valerie Shamash
Bob Moore
Executive Producer
Daniel Cross, Mila Aung-Thwin

"Dope is Death is a vital contribution to the ongoing re-evaluation of the black liberation movement and a welcome antidote to conventional neoliberal pap."

"Dope Is Death sheds welcome light on a forgotten, and still urgent and instructive, chapter of civic history."

About the Director

Mia Donovan

Mia Donovan is a filmmaker based in Montreal. She has written and directed three feature documentaries, Inside Lara Roxx (2011), Deprogrammed (2015) and Dope is Death (2020). Her films have been presented worldwide at film festivals, on TV broadcasts, theatrically and on digital platforms such as Netflix. In 2016 she wrote and directed her first virtual reality experience called Deprogrammed VR (2016) which won the coveted IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling that year. Aside from working on her own projects, she worked as a story consultant on Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5 and directed the music video for Rufus Wainwright’s video Trouble In Paradise. She is currently developing her first narrative feature called The Touch of Her Flesh.

Other films by Mia Donovan