Grippingly honest personal journals reveal the secrets one man worked so hard to conceal as an innocent prescription for painkillers leads to a 10-year struggle to escape opiates and the stigma that surrounds his addiction.
Matt Edwards grew up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, where the winters are long, they call the mosquito the state bird and his hometown was so small that it didn't have a single store. His first high came from pills prescribed by a doctor for a botched toe surgery.
Matt was driven by a desperate need to get a fix. To get what he needed he spun a web of fiction. He was a magnificent liar - smart, creative, persuasive - his lies fed his addiction as much as the actual drugs.
But Matt told the truth to himself in two spiral bound journals. He chronicled his daily drug use - sort of like the Bridget Jones of addiction but in cc's, milligrams and dollars instead of pounds, drinks and cigarettes. His journals also tell the story of his countless attempts to quit
How does a smart, loving, promising kid go from acting in the high school play to putting a needle in his arm? Written Off reveals that journey, in Matt's own words - with a twist - the commonly held assumptions are all wrong. He isn't weak - only someone strong could survive an addiction like his for ten years. He isn't getting high to party - he's avoiding the wrenching pain of withdrawal. He isn't shirking responsibility - he blames himself for everything. Behind the addiction, there is a person - all at once lovable and despicable, funny and pathetic, destructive and aware of his failings. Like the early days of the HIV crisis, blaming the victim is the first thing that needs to change. Written Off can do for addiction what Philadelphia did for HIV.
Festivals and Awards:
Arizona International Film Festival: Best Documentary, Julien Dubuque International Film Festival, Omaha International Film Festival: Best Documentary,Ridgefield Independent Film Festival, Richmond International Film Festival: Best Screenplay, Green Bay Film Festival, IndieFEST: Award of Excellence, 2016 Humanitarian Award, Utopia Film Festival, Weyauwega International Film Festival: Best Documentary, LA Awareness Fest
Molly Hermann: Director, Writer, Co-Producer
Rob Lyall: Director of Photography, Co-Producer