Opening Night Drag – Day 1 FFF 2012

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The Cast, Crew and Even Subjects of the Opening Film During the Q & A

After a 16 hour day of work and the FFF, I finally make it home. I must admit I was not overly pleased to see this years’ opening film, Renee. NumberOneEmber and I arrive just in the nick of time for tonight’s film. We meet up with LanceAround who is waiting in the Press line. To our surprise, Renee is showing on not one, but two screens. After all the standbys are let in, the LanceAround team flocks to the only seats left available in the front row.

Filmed in Orlando, Renee is the true story of a troubled teenage girl addicted to cocaine. The film focuses mainly on her 5 days of detox before rehab. Nothing like starting off this years FFF with a depressed, drug obsessed movie.

Kat Dennings as Renee

After the film we wait for the Q & A session with the people involved in the making. There were a lot of them, including the actual Renee and Jamie Tworkowski, who was a central character in the film and a big supporter of Renee. Jamie founded the non-profit organization, To Write Love on Her Arms, which helps people, like Renee, who cut themselves. It became a viral sensation after Jamie posted a story about Renee on MySpace.

The script for the movie was 3 years in the making. It took 6 months for the re-writes, 6 months for the editing and just 25 short days of filming. During the credits a disclaimer appears saying despite the fact the film was based on a true story, it is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. So LanceAround asks the real Renee, who was in theatre, what aspects of the film were true and which portions were “everything else.” She replies, “people being people and being flawed was true. This recovery thing is a process and not perfect.” At the end she states, “Usually people are dead when they make movies about them, but I’m still alive so it’s pretty cool.” The audience laughs.

During the Q & A someone from the audience asks what the main point they wanted to get across to people watching. Jamie stated it was to inform and educate people, but “on a bigger level, save lives.”

This comment really caught me off guard because at no point during the Q & A did anyone from the production of the film state anything about where to get help or the fact that Renee was, in fact, clean and sober. For those of you who struggle with addiction, depression, self-injury, or even attempted suicide, there are many organizations out there that can help. How can you “save lives” without giving people information that will help save them?

So I would like to provide the following information:  If you don’t have family or friends to talk to, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at (800) 273 – TALK [8255]. If you are in need of drug rehab or treatment, please call the 24 hour addiction line at (877) 530 – 6575.

If you’re going to touch on a serious subject that’s based on a true story, I recommend showing people how to get help.

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