ASAM Movie Night Features Special Screening of The Anonymous People

0412_AnonymousPplNew to the Med-Sci Conference is ASAM Movie Night. The featured film, The Anonymous People, is already turning heads in the field of addiction medicine.

A special screening of The Anonymous People will be presented from 8 to 9:30 pm Saturday in Orange Ballroom D, Lower Level. The film’s writer and director, Greg Williams, MA, will be at the screening to introduce the film, and field questions and comments afterward. Williams also is this year’s recipient of the ASAM Media Award.

“I’ve received amazing feedback, and I’m humbled that the film earned an award from a prestigious, professional organization like ASAM,” Williams said. “For providers, the film has become an important new tool in the toolbox.”

The Anonymous People is a documentary about the 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery from addiction. The film explores the cultural understanding of addiction and the deeply entrenched social stigma that has kept recovery voices silent and faces hidden for decades. The moving story of this population is told through the faces and voices of citizens, leaders, volunteers, corporate executives, public figures, and celebrities who are laying it all on the line to save the lives of others just like them. Such individuals include NBA star Chris Herren, award-winning actress Kristen Johnston, Miss USA 2006 Tara Conner, and former congressman Patrick Kennedy, among others.

0412_AnonymousPpl2“There is an emerging new public recovery movement that aims to transform public opinion, engage communities and elected officials, and finally shift problematic policy toward lasting solutions,” Williams said. “By solely reporting and highlighting people in active addiction, the media often sensationalizes the dysfunctional side of what is a preventable and treatable health condition. Just like women with breast cancer, or people with HIV/AIDS, a grassroots social justice movement is emerging. Courageous addiction recovery advocates have come out of the shadows and are organizing to end discrimination and move toward recovery-based solutions.”

Williams, 30, has been in long-term recovery from addiction since the age of 17. His film tries to answer the question of why society treats people with addiction so differently from people with any other chronic illness. Much of it begins with inappropriate language—“loaded words”—that negatively impact treatment and recovery, he said.

0412_AnonymousPpl3The addiction recovery advocacy movement questions the approach the U.S. has taken toward the illness—criminalizing a health condition, marginalizing those who impacted, and giving superficial treatment to the chronic illness of addiction, Williams said. This failure has resulted in a price tag of more than $350 billion, lost lives, and disrupted families and communities.

“This film is fueling a changing conversation and community activism. I hope it continues to be an important step in the right direction with great utility for the professionals working in the addiction field,” he said.

The film can be licensed for Public Performance Rights to use in treatment and recovery programs through Alive Mind Cinema, Williams said. For details please visit the “Screenings” tab at manyfaces1voice.org. The Anonymous People opened theatrically in Los Angeles on Friday and is available for individual home video ownership both on DVD and digitally through manyfaces1voice.org.