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Director Bess O'Brien to Screen The Hungry Heart Documentary in Potsdam

The Hungry Heart film director Bess O'Brien is screening her internationally-acclaimed film about prescription and opiate drug abuse in Potsdam.

Bess O'BrienDuring the visit, O'Brien and film subject Raina Lowell will give a talk about the documentary from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 6, in Clarkson University's Student Center Multipurpose Rooms (#15 on the map at ), followed by another talk from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at SUNY Canton's Kingston Theater in the Miller Campus Center.

The Hungry Heart is then being screened in its entirety at 7:15 p.m. at the Roxy Theater in Potsdam as part of the Cinema 10 film series. General admission is $4.50, and student and senior tickets cost $3.50. A reception and Q-and-A will take place at Maxfields in Potsdam after the screening.

The documentary is scheduled to be shown to all Potsdam High School students at SUNY Potsdam's Hosmer Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 7, with O'Brien and Lowell in attendance to talk about the film.

O'Brien released The Hungry Heart last year, providing an in-depth look at the world of prescription drug addiction through the eyes of Vermont pediatrician Dr. Fred Holmes. Beyond merely prescribing his patients suboxone, which helps many addicts in their recovery process, Holmes develops a profound connection with his patients through the healing power of conversation. Holmes and his patients welcome O'Brien into their sessions and all provide candid interview that paint a stark picture of addiction and recovery.

O'Brien is the winner of the 2014 Walter Cerf Award for Excellence in the Arts; the 2012 Labor of Love Award from Vermont Works for Women; the 2011 Voices For Vermont’s Children Youth Advocacy Award in recognition for O’Brien’s dedicated, creative and artistic advocacy on behalf of Vermont children; the 2010 National Education Association Human and Civil Rights Award for Shout it Out for empowering youth voice; and other awards.

The documentary has received international praise for starting a conversation about opiate abuse.  O'Brien appeared as a special guest at Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin's State of the State address, where he dedicated much of his speech to issues raised in the film. The documentary has also been highlighted by several news organizations, including CBS Evening News, Al Jazeera, the New York Times and ABC.

In bringing the film to Potsdam, Clarkson University Visiting Assistant Professor of Humanities and Business Joseph Andriano has partnered with numerous stakeholders at the University and in the community to start a conversation about the impact of prescription and opiate drug abuse in our area.

Andriano has been working with Potsdam High School Principal Joann Chambers; Rebecca Faber, director of corporate communications for Canton-Potsdam Hospital; John Kaplan, chief of police for SUNY Potsdam; Kevin Bates, chief of police for the Village of Potsdam; Holly Chambers, executive director of Cinema 10; Adam Bullock, director of behavioral health services for Canton-Potsdam Hospital; Heather Cowen-Wilson, New York State Regional Teacher of Excellence; Ann Petrocionne, Potsdam High School nurse; and others. This group has worked together closely to promote the screening of the film and to investigate avenues of further dialogue on this issue in the community.

The visit is sponsored by Cinema 10, Canton-Potsdam Hospital, the Clarkson University Department of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Clarkson University Office of Student Life and Engagement.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

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[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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