In a powerful move to commemorate National Recovery Month, the City of Boston announces the premiere of its Recovery Month Documentary Film Series. The series, which includes three feature documentary films, focuses on elucidating the complexities of substance use in North America at both personal and community-level perspectives. With post-screening panel discussions featuring local and national experts, this innovative event has garnered the attention and support of various organizations, including RIZE Massachusetts Foundation and the Boston Public Library. According to the city's announcement, the screenings will be held at the library's Central Library in Copley Square throughout September and are open and free to the public.
This groundbreaking film series addresses various pressing issues, including racial disparities in the war on drugs, deceptive opioid marketing and overprescribing, and the adoption of supervised injection sites. The initiative has certainly piqued the interest of Bostonians, who seek to understand better the resilience and determination required in overcoming substance use disorder. Mayor Michelle Wu praises the initiative, stating in the city's recent news release, "I’m thankful to the RIZE Massachusetts Foundation, Brendan Little Strategies, BPHC, BPL and our City offices for their partnership in delivering this valuable series to our communities.”
The Recovery Month Documentary Film Series, the first of its kind in Boston, is a testament to the city's dedication to promoting innovative programming that raises awareness around substance use disorder issues. In previous years, the City of Boston’s Office of Recovery Services, Office of Arts and Culture, and the Boston Public Library have joined forces to create citywide read programs and author events. Jen Tracey, Director of the Office of Recovery Services, emphasizes that an ongoing commitment to education is crucial in addressing substance use, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
In addition to the screenings, the film series boasts panel discussions moderated by Brendan Little, a documentary filmmaker and former founding Policy Director for the City of Boston’s Office of Recovery Services with personal experience in substance use disorder and homelessness. Little has assembled a diverse panel composed of elected and appointed officials, frontline substance use disorder professionals, filmmakers, and individuals with first-hand experience with substance use and recovery. He believes that documentary film holds immense potential for dismantling misconceptions and promoting empathy, stating in the city's statement, "I hope this film series will allow people to challenge their preconceived notions of substance use disorder."
Among the films featured in the series is the Academy Award-nominated documentary "All the Beauty and the Bloodshed," directed by Laura Poitras, which garnered widespread acclaim and recognition in 2022. The lead sponsor for this event, RIZE Massachusetts Foundation, is a public-private partnership dedicated entirely to financing endeavors to end the overdose crisis. Julie Burns, President, and CEO of RIZE Massachusetts Foundation, expounds on the significance of the film series, saying, "We hope this film series will educate the public about substance use disorder and recovery while inspiring discussion and breaking down the stigma associated with addiction."