‘Lost in Woonsocket’ coming to Vail
VAIL, Colorado – Sometimes you find yourself, but usually someone else finds you.
The film, “Lost in Woonsocket” follows the lives and recovery of two rescued alcoholic drug addicts, living in a tent in the snow, in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.
Years later, one is still clean and sober. One is not.
Some stories end happy. Some don’t. This one does.
The film is the centerpiece of a grassroots movement, called Lost and Found in America, sweeping America to help the homeless and addicted.
It’s producers are on a nationwide tour for a series of free screenings, to celebrate National Recovery Month and help as many people as they can along the way.
The tour stops in Vail Wednesday.
“Lost in Woonsocket” drives home one overriding fact: We’re all this close to disaster. Lose a job, lose your house, lose your family. It hurts to fall and alcohol numbs the pain. It also clouds the road back.
Judge Katharine Sullivan sees it all day, every day and is the force that’s bringing “Lost in Woonsocket” back to the area.
“What they are doing is so fitting right now. They have been a great help to the recovering community,” she said. “We have to be looking out for each other and do what we can to help one person.”
Sullivan is the county court judge, so when you run afoul of the law because of alcohol or drugs you land in her courtroom first. Sometimes it’s a soft landing; sometimes it’s a smackdown. The same faces often show up repeatedly, and while she’s generally welcoming and good natured, she takes a dim view of that sort of behavior.
She learned about “Lost in Woonsocket” and Lost and Found in America when one of her buddies cancelled lunch, and she had a little time on her hands. She’d been part of an e-mail blast about a free screening at the Crystal Theater in Carbondale, so she decided to give it a look.
“It’s one of the most inspirational things I’ve ever experienced,” Sullivan said.
Afterward, some of the producers were outside talking to people and Sullivan decided right then that their tour would bring them to Eagle County for her DUI court, so of course it did.
They rolled through last winter and played to a captive audience – both literally and metaphorically – in the Eagle County jail.
This time around they’re screening the film for the general public in the Cinebistro, the Solaris’ new theater/cafe in Vail Village.
They’ll be in Colorado to screen the film and talk to inmates in a women’s prison later this week, then they’ll swing over to the Jaywalker Lodge, an in-patient alcohol and drug treatment center for men in Carbondale, then to the Cinebistro Wednesday.
They launched the Lost and Found in America Foundation so they can keep traveling and keep working – keep reaching one person at a time.
They reach hundreds at a time. Some need help, some used to and still might, and some know someone who does. Sometimes it sticks, sometimes it doesn’t.
We caught up with them in Winnemucca, Nev. They started in Los Angeles and swung through northern California, Phoenix and Utah.
They’re just getting started on a nationwide tour that will run through the end of November and end on the East Coast.
Not coincidentally, the tour started in September, which is National Recovery Month.
“It’s turning out to be exactly what I had hoped for,” said Thea Maichle, one of the producers who’s on the road.
They’ve been screening the film since it premiered in 2007, and it’s all free. No licensing fee, no speaking fee – a cinematic leap of faith.
They could always use money, and any donation helps, Maichle said.
“We do need to keep gas in the RV,” Maichle said.
For a $19 donation you get a DVD and you get to help.
“It is true that one person can make a difference and it doesn’t take much,” Maichle said.