Original Body of Pain portrays the American opioid epidemic in an immersive, longitudinal fashion, following families stricken by addiction and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome - when babies are born exposed to substances - for over a year of their lives.
Set in Asheville, NC, the documentary follows women through pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond, profiling the highs and lows of motherhood - from first steps and birthday parties, to drug withdrawal, personal traumas, and relapses.
But this film isn't a sob story or a portrait of shame. Told with compassion, integrity and love, our film documents the bravery and resilience of three strong women at different intersections of the opioid crisis, and makes a compelling statement for sympathy and understanding for those suffering from addiction.
Furthermore, our documentary is proof that addicts can still make great parents when they're provided the social support and compassionate care that addiction demands.
Meet the Filmmakers
We have dedicated our lives for the past two years to our relationships with the women featured in this documentary. We've learned everything we can about the psychology of addiction, social determinants of health (and how they contribute to substance abuse), the shame and judgement levied at pregnant mothers who suffer from addiction, and how the opioid crisis is being treated on a federal level.
We firmly believe that societally and systemically, addiction needs to be treated as a public health issue rather than a moral or personal failing.
In addition to festival and community screenings, a major goal of this project is to attract an audience at the medical and university levels.
Original Body of Pain has already received an outreach and impact grant via Wake Forest University's Center for Bioethics, Health and Society, which will support the development of an educational pamphlet for hospitals and schools to reeducate medical personnel and students about the contributing factors of addiction and what women and children dealing with perinatal substance exposure go through.
But We Still Need Your Help!
Production is 95% completed on this film. As we enter the fine cut stage and prepare the documentary for music scoring, post production and distribution, we need to raise the money for these costs.
This film is emotionally resonant, contains immersive verité moments, and is beautifully shot in Sony Ultra HD. We want the finished product to reflect the polish and craft of our project, in order to get as many eyeballs on this critical social issue film as possible.
Your donation supports finishing costs, music scoring, advertising and marketing, film festival submissions, educational material development, graphic design, and conference submission fees.
Additionally, by backing Original Body of Pain, you're contributing to a more productive and sympathetic portrayal of addiction, rooted in research and the lived experiences of those who've gone through it. Thank you in advance for your support!
Impact & Engagement
Amid all the films, news reports, and articles about opioid abuse and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, very few of them allow the person suffering from addiction to tell their story, at least not without the critical eye of a reporter. This is where our film enters the conversation.
We have pitched Original Body of Pain at both RiverRun International Film Festival in North Carolina, and New Orleans International Film Festival, receiving funding from RiverRun and lots of encouraging feedback around our message.
In addition to our grant from the Center of Bioethics, Health and Society, our connections with recovery homes, OB-GYN offices, and a hospital network in Western North Carolina continue to provide many avenues for us to get our message out.
Alongside our prospective film festival run and educational distribution, we aim to host community screenings across North Carolina and beyond - wherever the demand may be - engaging individual cities and towns in the conversation around the opioid crisis and addiction. View our perks on the right-hand side to learn how you can secure a screening for your own community!
This is not a “merch” film, nor do we want it to be. Our mission is to spread the stories of these resilient women, who’s lives, and legacies have been stifled by addiction, and to inspire compassion and understanding amid all the crosstalk surrounding the opioid epidemic.
Therefore our perks are bare bones, no-frills. Thank you for your support, and please make sure to follow this project as our fundraiser continues!
Dominic Silva and SJ Wright are MFA candidates ('18) in Wake Forest University's Documentary Film Program, a rigorous 3-year degree program responsible for many award-winning entries with success in film festivals, conferences, high-profile grants, and streaming deals.
Please follow this project on our social media platforms!
Risks and challenges
Throughout production of the film, which began in August of 2016, we have been methodical and sensitive with respect to casting, interviewing, and longitudinally following our participants, honoring the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
Each participant's disclosures within interviews and filming were of their own volition, each hospital location shoot was pre-approved, and we've secured the appropriate releases for filmed subjects.
As we begin to market the film, we are cognizant of negative opinions and worldviews about those who suffer from addiction and expose their children to substances - and social media comments on our film pages have reflected that.
If this film can changed even one mind, one negative perspective about addicts, it will have been worth it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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