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UT Assistant Professor Premieres Film on Addiction in NY

Published: September 27, 2010
UT Assistant Professor Tom Garrett helped celebrate National Recovery Month at the New York Recovery Rally on Sept. 25 by premiering an extended trailer of his documentary, The Secret World of Recovery .

“It’s been eye-opening,” said Garrett of the insidiousness of substance abuse. “There are a lot of people whose lives have been touched for the good and the bad, and they want to give back by telling their stories.”

Garrett is finding that almost everyone he talks to has some story on how substance abuse has touched their family. Since starting work in March with author Leslie Glass, Garrett said the project has snowballed into the creation of a feature film and educational website, .

Garrett received a grant from the Sunscreen Film Festival that helped him employ UT students to travel around the nation filming on location and to help edit film. Samantha Francisco ’11, Alan Mehanna ’09 and Jean-Pierre Busche ’11 all contributed to the process. Adjunct Instructor Curtis Graham worked as director of photography for portions of the film.

The Secret World of Recovery , which will be released in 2011, is produced by Garrett and directed by Glass. Garrett said the film is a personal story and tells what happens to people and their families when they decide to change, why treatment is so often delayed and how relapse is not an indication of failure but, for many people, a necessary part of the process.

“We had no agenda to do something like this when we started, but so many people were like, ‘no one has done something like this before,’” Garrett said. “It starts the dialog. We’re not just making a movie. We’ve got a message, and it can change people’s lives. It can give you hope.”

Garrett was intrigued by the documentary as he has an affinity for redemption themes. He was struck by the popularity of shows like “Intervention” and “Celebrity Rehab,” which he said portray a highly negative image.

“Programs like that always show the train wreck,” Garrett said. “Rarely do we hear the success stories, and there really are some out there.”

Watch the trailer.

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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