It's really great to be doing some work with people in recovery. It's our natural area of interest here at Digital Witness. The experience of working with people trying to understand and re-frame their experiences and move on with their lives is a rewarding one. Change is at the heart of all stories and the difference between the chaos of active addiction and the dignity of embracing recovery can be powerful. It is life affirming in it's truest sense and inspiring to bear witness to.
The Swanage service users are at different stages, but all are quite early on in their recovery. The stories reflect this. There are a lot of references to the pain, fear and exhausting nature of living in addiction in their films. They all lead towards more stability, hope and self respect as the stories develop.
I had hoped to get some very basic stories down within the relatively short time frame, and was amazed by the speed with which the group as a whole embraced the tasks and the imaginative approaches each participant took. Each storyteller had different skillsets to bring to the table and they are well demonstrated in the individual pieces.
Paul came with a good understanding of the technical possibilities the project offered and was off and running, quickly producing an adept piece of work utilising a range of techniques from animation to multi track audio effects. Judith likewise had good IT skills that allowed her to shape a script quickly and freed up time to think about the story from an audio/visual perspective. Jen had a very powerful and heartfelt story to tell and picked up the digital skills as and when they were needed. Sam made up for lost time with a final day of diligent and focused energy, an inspired visual approach and what proved to be a powerful account of the perseverance necessary to overcome repeated obstacles to getting and staying clean.
I think we surpassed the initial brief as the willingness and openness of the group allowed trust to develop early on and we hit the ground running, which allowed us to get a lot more done in 3 days than I had expected. The standard of work from first time storytellers/filmmakers was remarkable.
I look forward to meeting the EDP group in Wareham on the 30th of August.