Recovery Street Film Festival 2015

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Storytelling through film can play an important role in recovery, says Lou Boyd

The Recovery Street Film Festival was founded as a way of helping the general public understand more about recovery from substance misuse, by giving those who have lived through it a platform to tell their story. In 2014 it reached people in London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Cardiff and Birmingham, and it was clear from speaking to those who took part that telling their story had helped their recovery.

Research illustrates the benefits of giving those in recovery a platform to tell others about their experiences – after all, creating a narrative is the foundation of many types of group work and key working – and it can be a very positive step to formalise this process.

Creative writing, visual arts and music are all options, but smartphones now mean that film is very accessible – the tips at the end of this article give an idea of how easy this can be. We have increasingly seen film and other media used effectively to support those who may consider themselves marginalised or misrepresented, such as members of BME and LGBT communities, and those with mental health needs or criminal justice issues.
Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 10.46.47Paul from London, who took part in the Recovery Street Film Festival last year, was clear on what the benefits were for him:

‘Making a film was definitely helpful to me in my recovery. Being a bit shy in nature and not a very talkative person, this was a great way in which I could share some of my experiences, and I would certainly recommend it to others.’

Last year the film festival received more than 70 entries. We hope that more people get involved this year and would encourage anyone working with people who have, or are affected by, substance misuse issues to enter the competition.

Lou Boyd is operations manager for Turning Point in south Westminster

Entry details at