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educational media on the critical issues of our times

Written Off

A Film by Molly Hermann & Rob Lyall

61 minutes

Scene Selection • Closed Captioned

Grades 11 - Adult
Item #:WRO-1133

Select DVD License (limited PPR included)

DVD
K-12 Schools, Public Libraries, Community Groups $89
Colleges, Businesses, Other Institutions - $295
Colleges (DVD with Digital Site License) - $395
How does a young person go from starring in the school play to putting a needle in his arm?

Written Off
reveals the achingly personal journey of Matt Edwards as he battles addiction. A charismatic storyteller with a unique curiosity for life, Edwards longs to leave rural Wisconsin behind and see the world. But as a teen, a prescription for a powerful painkiller following a botched toe surgery exposes him to opioids for the first time. They make him feel like he has been "touched by God." What follows is a valiant decade-long struggle to survive against increasingly potent drugs.

Matt keeps a meticulous record of his journey in grippingly honest journals -- how much he takes, how he finds it, what it costs, and his never-ending attempts to quit. They serve as a warts and all memoir of his desperation for that next fix and what he'll do to get it.

The Opioid Crisis is a national emergency. Every day there is another front page tragedy detailing another spectacular fall from grace. What's missing is a real understanding of the complicated human experience of addiction, Matt Edward's story is one of secrets, shame, and crushing stigma that make him feel like a society has written him off. The film Written Off changes the way addiction is understood. In his own words, Matt reveals that behind the addiction there is a person - all at once lovable and despicable, funny and pathetic, destructive and aware of his failings.
FILMMAKER'S STATEMENT: "My cousin Emily died of a heroin overdose at the age of 20. Even today, if anyone ever talks about it, it is to intimate that there was an inevitability to her death. Ten years passed, and I started to read about the 'opiate epidemic' almost every day in the paper. It made me rethink Emily's death. Could we have helped her if we'd understood? As documentary filmmakers my partner, and Director of Photography, Rob Lyall and I have spent most of our careers rooted in the distant past. We have long desired to use our skills to tackle an issue close to our hearts. This film is dedicated to Emily and all the others like her who are Written Off."
-Molly Hermann
Written Off

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