Reel Recovery Film Festival Kicks Off in NYC | The Fix
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Reel Recovery Film Festival Kicks Off in NYC

Featuring some of the best examples of "Addiction Cinema," this seven-day festival will be a powerful look at one of the best (and fastest-growing) genres in indie film.

By Mike Guy


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If you’re itching for a cultural “moment” in sobriety, or if you’re merely a drooling fan of the sometimes haunting, sometimes vile, sometimes exhilarating genre of “Addiction Cinema," the New York edition of the Reel Recovery Film Festival starts today and it’s loaded with great movies. Kicking off with screenings of a documentary about troubled poet and musician Gil-Scott Heron and the drunkard’s classic, On The Bowery, the festival will then feature a discussion of the film with Robert Downey Sr

Founded in Los Angeles four years ago by native Leonard Buschel, the brains behind Writers in Treatment, the Reel Recovery Film Festival comes to New York for the first time this year, and the screenings all take place at the Quad Cinemas on 13th Street in Manhattan. Every screening will be followed by a talk with a filmmaker or a clinician. 

“The purpose of this festival, besides showing great films,” says Buschel, "is to help remove the stigma of addiction, but also to bring treatment professionals together. You look at the clientele and there’s a lot of clinicians, a lot of sober people, and about 10 or 20% are just attracted to these films. I call them 'on the cusp.' In psychology, it’s hard to look directly at your problem, but if you look at a reflection of it you can actually process it.”

The highlights from the seven-day festival include the documentary, Death of an Addict; the Danish english-language film, Love Addict, about co-dependency and, naturally, love addiction; a whole day devoted to women and addiction (Lipstick and Liquor, My Name Was Bess). There will also be a host of high-profile films, such as the cocaine classic Less Than Zero and last year’s demonic cult hit, Shame.

There will also be an evening of sober comedians and a round-table discussing trying to be creative after you get sober, hosted by William Cope Moyers, and including the New York TimesDavid Carr, Fix columnist Maia Szalavitz, Laurie Dhue, Maer Roshan and others.  

For tickets and more information, visit

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