Recovery Street Film Festival is back celebrating its eighth edition

In the eight years since it was established, Recovery Street Film Festival has been challenging the stigma associated with people who use drugs and alcohol, and celebrating their recovery journeys, through the power of film and storytelling. 

RSFF 2022Over one hundred films have been entered into the festival competition and these entries have been watched by well over one million people to date. The idea has always been to give people with lived experience a platform to share their stories of hope and recovery with the public, in community hubs, classrooms, conferences, urban spaces, and just about any other place you can fit a screen and some willing viewers.

Our 2022 theme for film submissionsRSFF is “Who am I?”. You may think that’s an incredibly open-ended question, and you’d be right. Think of it as a guide, rather than something you must stick religiously to, helping you to engage the thinking process about your identity and place in the world.

Who you are may be different to who you were yesterday, or who you hope to be tomorrow. It may be influenced by the people around you or the communities you belong to, and the connections you make with them. It may be centred around your passions, ambitions, life, and career goals, or it could just be about your favourite hobby. The world around us has changed significantly in recent years, and there’s no doubt many of us have changed with it.

So that’s what we’re hoping to present through this year’s film submissions: though we may find courage in hearing of others’ trials, tribulations and triumphs through recovery, everyone’s lived experience, whether direct or indirect through friends and family, is unique.

There is a prize fund of £500 in Amazon vouchers on offer for the winners of Recovery Street Film Festival 2022, with £300 going to first place, £150 to second, and £50 to third. The top three entries, decided by our competition judges, will also have their travel to our launch in September paid for, the details of which will be announced soon.

Your film entry should be one to three minutes in length and can be as imaginative as you wish. They could be short dramatic plays using actors, drawn or stop motion animation, documentary or mockumentary style pieces, personal stories, monologues, songs, poems, or anything else you can think of.

You don’t need lots of experience or expensive equipment to enter the festival either. All you need is a storyline and a relatively up to date smartphone. There are lots of helpful guides and tips on our website to help you make a powerful film with limited resources and experience. We also accept entries of pre-existing films not created specifically for Recovery Street Film Festival.

 'Breaking free' RSFF winner
Get inspired by watching Matthew Butler’s winning film

At our last full festival in 2020, Russell Brand had the honour of announcing the winner, ‘Break Free’, directed by Matthew Butler. It depicts Dave, who is new to sobriety, struggling during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown. He calls his Recovery Coordinator, James, who provides him with some interesting tips to help him cope.

If you don’t fancy making a short film to enter, there are still many ways you can support our mission. With the same aim as above, you could submit a 10-second direct-to-camera video statement beginning with “I am a…” or “I am not a…”. We’ll then edit these videos together into a longer video that paints a picture of how people in recovery perceive themselves and how those perceptions differ.

You can also host a screening of the ten shortlisted films during Recovery Month in September. Hosting a screening is easy and it’s a wonderful way to get involved and help reduce the stigma associated with recovery.

You don’t need much tech or event planning experience to host a screening. You simply need a smart TV, projector, laptop, tablet or even a smartphone to be able to show them to your friends and other attendees. We’ll upload the ten shortlisted films to our YouTube channel so you can easily access them.

However you choose to get involved with Recovery Street Film Festival 2022, we hope you’ll join us in spreading the word about the achievements of people with lived experience during the run up to, and throughout, Recovery Month.

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