The Recovery Street Film Festival is an annual competition to help those affected by addiction tell their story, aimed around breaking the stigma and encouraging conversation. The 2018 winners were announced earlier this month and all 10 shortlisted films are available on their Youtube channel… hurray!

This year’s theme was ‘My Lightbulb Moment’, where entrants were asked to share the moment(s) that made them decide to change their lives.

The winning entry was called Understanding Mewith Karen’s Story and The Underpass named as runners up.

Recovery.Wrx wanted to review them, because we believe it’s a great way of opening up the recovery debate even more and showing that it’s possible.

Our very own Brogan Maguire watched the films and here are her thoughts…

Watching the winning entry from this year’s Recovery Street Film Festival, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. ‘Understanding Me’ is a relatively vague title that doesn’t give much away, but I was excited to see what the three minutes of footage would hold. I wasn’t disappointed.
The film started with scenes of the beach, before fading to a blonde woman, darkness except for a pointed spotlight, and a heartfelt poem about growing up with an alcoholic mother. It examines the impact that addiction from those around us can have, and the way that it can affect how we see ourselves.
There are no special effects, no fancy techniques – just truth, emotion and scenes that match the words perfectly. It’s a hard-hitting, thought-provoking piece that really makes you stop and think about how your actions may affect others (and vice versa) and the pain that addiction can bring.
The line ‘positivity outweighing fear’ really stuck in my mind because it showed that we’re all capable of progress if we change our mind set, and I think that’s something that will really help a lot of people. Letting go of the anxiety, opening ourselves up to new horizons and being ready to face those challenges… that’s all we can do really, isn’t it?
Overall I thought it was a brilliant film with strong writing, strong delivery and an even stronger message.
It didn’t stop there though – the other two films were also brilliant. ‘Karen’s Story’ is another wonderfully poignant piece about a woman (named Karen, funnily enough) who is an alcoholic and is now in recovery after trying to commit suicide. She has six children and seven grandchildren and wants to show them how much they mean to her.
Again, it’s a simple video based solely around Karen and her words and emotions, but I found myself on the verge of tears as I watched it. I was mesmerised by her honesty and her pain and I felt so invested in her story. What I found really incredible is that despite everything going on in her own life, she wanted to encourage others to start their own recovery journey and get the help they need. Such an inspiring woman!
The Underpass was just as moving, focusing on a young lad called Darren who struggled with drink and drug addiction. The film followed his story to the ‘Living Room’, an abstinence-based recovery service that changed his life. He was lying on the ground in an underpass when his friend asked why he didn’t go home and get sober, and so that’s exactly what he did. He now has a partner and a daughter, and he hasn’t drunk or used since. It’s another story that speaks for itself and the simplicity of it really is beautiful.
Despite addiction being such a difficult journey, these films prove that recovery is possible and it is worth it.

You can watch all the shortlisted films here:

We’re totally in awe of these films, and the people that stepped up to make them.

Not only that, we’re totally on board with our friends at The Recovery Street Film Festival. So much so that we will be getting involved next year!

RecoveryWrx will be hosting a screening in 2019 – so watch this space for details of when and where!!

You can find out more about the festival on their website – join the conversation on Twitter, or follow them on Instagram.