The Reel Recovery Film Festival Returns to New York City

By John Lavitt 09/15/14

The festival will run September 26 to October 2 in Greenwich Village.

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From September 26 to October 2 at the historic Quad Cinema in Greenwich Village, the Reel Recovery Film Festival returns to New York City for a third consecutive year. The festival showcases films that look into the human side of addiction and recovery, highlighting both the horrors faced by the addict and the wonders experienced through the process of achieving sobriety.

Showing over 43 films from five different countries, the festival will offer an eclectic array of features, documentaries, and shorts while providing a unique platform for filmmakers to connect to a New York audience.

“I’m thrilled to showcase daring new films by talented filmmakers," festival director Leonard Buschel told The Fix. "For many of them, this is their breakout career moment. The films selected all reflect the vast diversity of experiences, crises, losses and loves of people undergoing such profound personal transformation. For many of the filmmakers, this will be the first time their films have been shown to an audience that includes industry professionals.”

Events at this year’s festival include a celebration of the life and work of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hosted by Robert Downey, Sr., the Tribute Day aims to pay respect by emphasizing the scope and breadth of Hoffman’s talents.

In addition, there will be a panel discussion entitled Chasing The Muse…Stone Cold Sober, led by Susan Cheever and featuring Bill Clegg, Joey Pantoliano, and Steve Geng. Sponsored by Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and Writers Guild of America East, the panel will investigate through the revelation of their own experiences the challenges of remaining a creative entity once sobriety is achieved.

The proceeds from the Reel Recovery Film Festival support the non-profit foundation Writers In Treatment that Buschel co-founded in 2008. As expressed on their website, Writers In Treatment helps men and women suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction, and other self-destructive behaviors get treatment for their disease.

The Reel Recovery Film Festival is a perfect example of one of the cultural events produced by Writers In Treatment that celebrates sobriety while reducing the stigma of addiction. By connecting culture to recovery, Leonard Buschel provides a truly valuable service.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.