Locally filmed documentary heads to more festivals, gets grant

By Abigail Youmans | Aim Media Indiana

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Since premiering in October at the Heartland Film Festival, the impact of locally filmed documentary “The Addict’s Wake” has not wavered.

The documentary tells the stories of individuals and families in nearby Brown County who have battled or are battling substance use disorder.

Now, the documentary will soon be expanded and shown in classrooms after the production company Glory Girl Productions received a $57,000 matching grant from the Central Indiana Community Foundation in March, which has already been matched.

“Wherever we’ve been going, we’ve received an outcry for a smaller cut for educational settings,” Producer Lisa Hall said.

She described the grant as a huge opportunity for the documentary, putting it years ahead of its goals for distribution.

Now, a second more broad edit is in production, including stories told from inner city Indianapolis. Part of the educational edit will tell stories from students at Hope Academy in Indianapolis, a recovery high school — one of seven accredited schools of its kind in the nation.

Hall said students there learn recovery as they pursue a high school education. Their graduation was filmed May 23.

The educational edit also will feature more stories from Brown County. Two Brown County local teens will be in the new edit whose father is in active use, Hall said.

The educational edit will be utilized to expand the “breadth and depth in scope of the problem of addiction,” she said.

“I knew the film was important, but I didn’t know who film would be important to. This really humanizes this issue for me. It’s just amazing. I just scratch my head and think ‘I had no idea.’ We’re just so thankful and grateful that people are seeing value of film and want to bring it on as a tool,” she said.

Hall and her husband moved to Brown County in 2017, the same year there were three lives lost to addiction in the county.

She began working with female inmates at the Brown County Jail, hearing stories of hopes, dreams and families that had been changed because of drug use.

After sharing on Facebook about the struggles the county was facing as people died of overdoses, Hall connected with Amy Pauszek, who became co-producer of the film that would tell the story of substance use disorder in Brown County.

Michael Husain signed on as the director of the film, and work began in 2019.

Interviews are not limited to local families of those who have battled or are battling substance use disorder. The film features interviews about the impact substance use disorder has on a person and the community.

The film premiered at the 30th Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis on Oct. 11 last year where it won Indiana Spotlight Category and Audience Choice awards.

In February, the film premiered in Arizona at the 28th annual Sedona International Film Festival, where the film brought home the Indie Spirit award. That award is given to a film that embodies community impact and the opportunity to foster change, Hall said in March.

The next month, the documentary took home the award for best film at the annual Hoosier Films Festival at Buskirk-Chumley Theater.

Last week, the documentary was shown at Vero Beach Film Festival in Florida. This weekend, it will be on the silver screen at the Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival.

For those who may have missed any of the screenings of “The Addict’s Wake,” a link will go live on the documentary’s Facebook page Thursday and will be accessible until June 26.

There also are fall conferences in the works.

“It has just been so crazy,” Hall said of the documentary’s success. “But it’s very exciting. We’re just trying to get a lot of eyes, entities and agencies to use the film as a tool.”

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority also will use the film for training purposes across the state. Plus, there is a collaboration in the works with Anthem Medicaid to facilitate a three- to five-countywide rollout in September, Hall said.

“Critical partnerships are coming together,” she said. “It just takes time and a lot of persistence. Things are happening.”