TOMS RIVER – A documentary featuring HOPE Sheds Light co-founder Stephen Willis received the prestigious Impact Award at the second annual New Jersey Recovery Film Festival June 2 at the Grunin Center for the Arts.
The festival showcased films that spoke about the experiences, strength and hope in the journey from addiction to recovery.
The 22-minute documentary, “The Girl Next Door,” featured Willis and retold the story of Katelin M. Campbell through her lifelong friend Rebecca Clauburg’s eyes. The film was directed and edited by Mark Clauburg. It tells the story of the drug epidemic in Ocean County and the loss of a childhood friend to a heroin overdose.
“Kate’s family was so brave to share their loss,” Willis said. “When we express our pain in the right way, we move closer to being healthy. This film beautifully depicts the joy of Kate’s young life with all her promise, as well as the pain and real-life effects of her addiction and her death. It’s a poignant celebration of her life – both moving and educational. On behalf of HOPE Sheds Light, I’m humbled and grateful to Kate’s family and to Mark Clauburg to have been asked to participate in their wonderful message.”
The film can be viewed at vimeo.com/253747988/05876feb65.
Mike Sorrentino, infamous for his time in the MTV Jersey Shore franchise, was guest speaker, alongside his fiancé Lauren Pesce. Sorrentino was named New Jersey Recovery Advocate of the Year.
“The festival is committed to being a statewide resource to support all efforts taking place throughout New Jersey,” the festival organizers said. “Our goal is to destigmatize the disease of addiction and highlight the hope found through recovery.”
The festival was hosted by HOPE Sheds Light, Prevention Links and Capacity Images.