The Anonymous People Rolls Across America
We bonded over a 45-minute phone call–Greg in Connecticut and me in Dallas–as we talked about addiction recovery and the social stigma attached to it. I remember well that conversation from last summer.
Greg exuded a calm yet determined commitment to fire back against the portrayal of sensationalized addiction in America’s mass media. Viewers watch in voyeuristic fascination as shows like Celebrity Rehab and even Intervention depict the train wreck of addiction.
He said that it’s time for the masses of long-term recovery success stories–23 million strong–to rise up and not only describe life sober, but to also speak out about addiction as a public health crisis much like HIV and AIDS. We must stop the incessant spread of shame-based stereotypes and stigmas.
The Anonymous People was born.
Update: The Anonymous People has been picked up by a national movie distributor and is available in cities and communities across the country through a new service called Gathr TOD or theatrical on demand. More on Gathr in a second.
Amplifying your voice
Here’s what’s cool about this entire project. It’s a call-to-action film with deep community roots, beginning with a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign that raised more than $70,000 for production costs. People from all walks of life gave $5, $100, $1000, to a young filmmaker with a dream.
Then they told their friends to donate. And their friends told friends. Dollar by dollar and voice by voice, over the course of a couple of months, momentum grew.
Greg kept the cameras rolling, shooting, editing, having conversations with political leaders, execs from corporate America, Hollywood types, and most importantly, people like you and me who believe we must unite our voices in advocacy.
The voices are community-based and the movement is ballooning this summer as it enters its next phase: distribution via Gathr.
Projecting a community voice
Gathr negotiates with cinemas and movie houses of your choosing to show the films you want to see. The concept is simple; in fact, you can check it out now right on this blog’s home page (if you’re reading this via email, click here to redirect to the home page).
See the box on the right hand side that reads Bring The Anonymous People to Your City? Click on the green Gathr button and you see a screen where you can enter your name and email address as someone who is interested in serving as a “captain” to bring the film to your city for a screening.
The Gathr folks will respond to your request with a link that connects you to your selected theater (if available). Once you’re good to go, you can download posters, link via social media and in general promote the film all over your community (whether as a group of individuals, a church or organization) as a screening venue for The Anonymous People.
You can also get answers to your questions on the Gathr site. Most importantly, Gathr does all the theater negotiations (at no cost to you!) and your role is to get people to reserve tickets. That’s pretty much it.
September is National Recovery Month. Wouldn’t it be cool to cue up The Anonymous People in theaters coast-to-coast to celebrate the joy and hope of addiction recovery? I have a dream that one day soon, the societal stigma attached to addiction will drown in a sea of united voices proclaiming dignity and grace in recovery.