Captured on camera

 Recover festivalA roving Recovery Street Film Festival aims to change public perceptions of addiction, as the organising team explains

This summer will see the launch of the inaugural Recovery Street Film Festival. Organised by a consortium of treatment providers including Phoenix Futures, Turning Point, CRI, Blenheim and Action on Addiction, supported by Public Health England (PHE) and DrugScope, the festival aims to celebrate and promote recovery from substance dependency.

The festival will hit the streets in September, starting in London and moving to several major cities in the UK, and will be hosted online at The festival is now open for submissions and we are encouraging anyone directly or indirectly affected by addiction to make a short film (maximum of three minutes) about aspects of addiction and, more specifically, recovery.

Statistics from PHE show that 29,025 people successfully completed their treatment programme in 2012-2013. That is 29,025 people on their recovery journey, and the festival organisers are encouraging all past and present service users, their friends and families and drug and alcohol service staff to take a full and active part in Recovery Street. Working in the substance misuse field we know that there are many misconceptions about substance misuse and that a lot of stigma still exists. Recovery Street is an opportunity to take a closer look at recovery, express the issues involved in substance dependency and celebrate and promote individual stories of recovery.

At the heart of the Recovery Street Film Festival is the desire to challenge and change public perceptions about substance misuse. Its theme, ‘Deserving a Future’, focuses on those living in recovery and meeting the challenge of finding a place in society. We want to demonstrate through the medium of film the diverse issues that are faced by people overcoming addiction and how those around them can be affected. We would like the three-minute films to make an immediate impact on the audience and as such, apart from the need to focus on recovery, there are no restrictions on creativity. Films can be short dramatic plays using actors, drawn or stop-frame animation, documentary-style pieces, or simply personal stories. We want the films to show a different side to the story of addiction – one that shows a true picture of the determination, commitment and courage that is required to face the challenge of starting life afresh.

A panel of film professionals will select the official festival films, including Sylvia Harvey, founding member of the Sheffield International Documentary Festival and visiting professor at the Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds, and David Cohen, psychologist, writer and documentary filmmaker. These will be shown at a ‘pop-up’ Recovery Street cinema in a number of major UK cities during September.

Members of the public will be invited to stop and view one or more of the films and encouraged to seek out more films online. As well as a panel award for the most original and imaginative approaches to telling stories of addiction and recovery, there will be a public vote award to determine the winners and highly commended films.

Film submissions not shown as part of the festival will be hosted online, alongside the official festival films, to create a library of insight and education around addiction and recovery.

You can find out more about the Recovery Street Film Festival on our website or you can follow the action on Twitter at #RecoveryStreet


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