Drink and Drugs News DDN September 2018 - Page 15

Film Festival More personal stories at www.drinkanddrugsnews.com This year’s entries to the Recovery Street Film Festival were all winners in bringing powerful personal stories to the screen. DDN reports Moving pictures leanor is funny and engaging. As she takes to the stage to introduce the Recovery Film Festival awards, she takes us back four years to her life as a ‘recovering alcoholic’. ‘I came through the 12-step rooms and I felt very lost and hopeless,’ she said. ‘I couldn’t manage the world. I had a high ego but a very low ego at the same time. The only skills I knew were how to get drunk and find drugs. Recovery has helped me find other skills.’ The film festival was ‘a voice, a network’, she said. It gave the opportunity to work on something consistently – ‘and consistency is E www.drinkanddrugsnews.com important to someone like me.’ For those who had put their work ‘out there’ through making a film, ‘it’s scary’, she said. But committing a personal story to film was extremely powerful as people embraced vulnerability and began to understand what was going on underneath. ‘You’re all winners,’ she added. ‘Those stories will help people.’ ‘My family was soaked in booze – so I escaped to the film industry, which was also soaked in booze. Great literature and great films come from a place of struggle,’ said Jason Flemyng, the Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels actor, as he presented awards to the winning film-makers. The theme this year was ‘My Lightbulb Moment’ and entrants were invited to explore what inspired them to change and embark on a recovery journey. Flemyng announced that third- placed winner was Jeremiah Quinn’s film The Underpass, in which Darren’s words of advice from a friend, as they lie drinking and drug-taking in an under - pass, send him home to change his life. Second place went to Karen’s Story, which gives touching emotional insight into what her recovery journey means to her and her family. And in first place, Understanding Me gave Ceri’s story, an unflinching account of her turmoil growing up as the child of an alcohol-addicted mother. As a mum herself, she reflects on her resolve not to let the past define her and to be the best parent she can to her two young children. ‘It was only after getting involved in NACOA [National Association for Children of Alcoholics] that I realised that being a child of an alcoholic was a “thing”,’ Ceri told DDN. I had been trying to change myself for so many years, but now I know that it’s ok. All the time I was hearing about cycles. I needed to hear that I didn’t have to repeat them, and could be confident in my parenting. ‘My mum died in 2003 but after my son was born the grief returned. I had two young children who were healthy and happy, and it was only my inner voice that was stopping me. The film was the next stage in helping me and this was also what I wanted to give my mum.’ As well as inspiring many people with their recovery, the festival had another vital role in confronting the stigma of addiction, said James Armstrong of Phoenix Futures, one of the festival’s organising partners. ‘Discrimination is fuelled by ignorance. We hope the festival is part of the solution, bringing people together to learn through film.’ The Recovery Street Film Festival website is at www.rsff.co.uk Watch all of the shortlisted films at the RSFF YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/2Nh1vKY September 2018 | drinkanddrugsnews | 15