Stories are powerful tools for creating change. A story is never just a story – it can inspire others, share a vision, and make hard to grasp realities easier to understand by making them more personal. This is true nearly everywhere. More recently, storytelling through film has been introduced as a means of sharing the stories of individuals caught up in the opioid crisis and other forms of addiction in the United States. “Recovery isn’t a cult or a dogma, it is a process unique to each individual, which is why it is an endless source of stories for film because all such stories are character driven, and those are the most compelling. The festival is for people who love film, love being exposed to new filmmakers. And who have an interest in the human drama and human comedy of people dealing with issues of dependence, addiction and/or recovery.” ~ Leonard Buschel, founder of the Reel Recovery Film Festival The Reel Recovery Film Festival presents the stories of individuals, of families, and of groups along with their struggles and successes with addiction. The film festival is produced by Writers in Treatment, a nonprofit that focuses on getting addicted writers the professional addiction treatment that they need. The Reel Recovery Film Festival has the same goal: not only to share stories, but also to inspire change in those who see and hear them.
The Reality of Sharing Recovery and Hope Through Stories
Stories of addiction treatment and drug rehab should not be hidden from sight, and addiction in general should not be stigmatized. Instead, these stories should be shared in the open to create hope in those still struggling with the reality of addiction in their life. This is where the reality of sharing recovery and hope through stories comes in. Addiction stories can often create hope in those struggling with addiction, act as a cautionary tale for those who are susceptible to addiction, and inspire families and friends of drug addicts or alcoholics. It is a story of survival. “If a person is in remission from cancer they aren’t still cancerous. They don’t say, ‘Hi, I’m cancerous.’ Cancer survivors have support groups, too, and they say, ‘I’m a survivor.’ We have survived addiction and now we’re living beyond that. The reason I don’t drink is because I’m in recovery and I still go to meetings so I don’t forget I’m in recovery.” ~ Leonard Buschel Leonard Buschel is the founder of both Writers in Treatment and the Reel Recovery Film Festival, and he has his own story to tell about overcoming the detrimental effects of addiction.
The Origins of the Reel Recovery Film Festival
The Reel Recovery Film Festival was born from another organization, Writers in Treatment. In turn, Writers in Treatment was started after Leonard Buschel was inspired to start an organization focusing on drug and alcohol abuse, as well as treatment and rehab, specifically for creative writers. “I wanted to start an organization that helps writers and creative people to get the help they need to deal with problems related to overuse, dependence or even addiction to alcohol or other drugs. I subsequently started the Reel Recovery Film Festivals and I am delighted that they have been embraced and enjoyed far beyond my expectations.” ~ Leonard Buschel, founder of Writers in Treatment and the Reel Recovery Film Festival The origin of the Reel Recovery Film Festival is clear: Buschel wanted to create an engaging but effective way of raising awareness about addiction and its effects. Not only that, but he also wanted to raise awareness surrounding the available treatment options for those struggling with addiction or alcoholism. With this goal in mind, the film festival focuses on stories of addiction, of recovery, and of hope all around the country. As the United States faces the worst opioid addiction crisis in its history, these stories are very much needed.
The Film Festival Shares Stories of Recovery and Hope
There is no question that the films at the Reel Recovery Film Festival depict both the hard reality of addiction and the hope of recovery for those who receive addiction treatment. Examples range from stories of teen addiction to turning to prostitution to support addiction. Girl on the Edge is a fictional version a teenager’s descent into addiction. In the film, the girl eventually attends equine therapy for her addiction, which puts her on the right path to recovery. Another example is Reaching Out, a film that focuses on addiction help lines and how an addict can make a call for help at a desperate time. “We have attended the RRFF in the past and believe in what they stand for. We wanted to be part of their voice in trying to showcase addiction and help make a difference in the community. If we don’t try to bring light to these important issues, who will? Every day thousands of people are seeking treatment but thanks in part to the stigma, and the lack of resources and education, they don’t find the help they need. That’s why we had to make this film.” ~ Matt Heckathorn, director of Reaching Out Nearly all of these films have at least one thing in common: they recognize that the drug epidemic sweeping the United States needs to be talked about. Instead of academic papers or opinion articles, these directors and actors are making strides to get the word out – through film. All of the films present different stories and characters, but they all focus on how getting treatment for addiction can offer anyone the hope of recovery.
Reel Recovery Film Festival 2017: What to Look For
The 9th Annual Reel Recovery Film Festival will becoming to Los Angeles, CA at the end of October. You can find more information about attending, and other events around the country, on the film festival website. “The Reel Recovery Film Festival is a multi-day event is a celebration of film, the arts, writing and creativity. We showcase filmmakers who make honest films about addiction, alcoholism, behavioral disorders, treatment and recovery. Slated for screening is an eclectic lineup of contemporary and classic films, documentaries and shorts from American and international, first-time filmmakers and industry veterans.” ~ From the Reel Stories Film Festival website Leonard Buschel, the co-founder of the film festival, has made it clear that it is not the goal of the event to work as a recovery rally. There are no hidden agendas, no hardline speeches, and no interventions. Instead, the film festival is about sharing stories, about building awareness, and about making a big, nationwide issue more personalized. As Buschel says, “Our films do sometimes teach, but never preach. They are first and foremost, entertaining and inspiring.” This is what you can expect at the Reel Recovery Film Festival, this year and every year.
Reel Recovery & Real Recovery: Getting Help
Even if you are not able to attend the Reel Recovery Film Festival personally, you should keep in mind the festival’s main message: that hope is not out of reach. Addiction can be effectively treated through professional drug rehab, individual therapy, and even group support meetings. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or alcoholism, it is time to reach out for help. “The medium of film speaks to a new generation who are used to learning from screens of all kinds and stories about people we can identify with remain one of the most relatable teaching tools. A film festival that tells stories about recovery adds yet one more layer of depth to awareness and prevention.” ~ Leonard Buschel, founder of Writers in Treatment and the Reel Recovery Film Festival No matter how long you have struggled with addiction, drug rehab can help you recover. If you have more questions about what addiction recovery looks like, or about how the Reel Recovery Film Festival helps, feel free to contact us today. We also have more addiction resources available on our website.