It has been about eight months since the world premiere of “Generation Found,” a documentary highlighting a recovery high school in Houston and the growing recovery high school movement.
The film followed students and administrators through their recovery journey at Archway Academy in Houston. With about 80 current students, Archway is regarded as one of the most successful and effective recovery high schools in the nation.
“The response has been really warm,” Mario Diurno, the film’s outreach director, told DrugRehab.com. “We’ve had over a few hundred showings in theaters themselves, and they’re still going on. People are still requesting to gather a screening.”
“Generation Found” is already having an impact on the greater recovery high school movement. Diurno says that after seeing the film, people in communities across the nation are mobilizing to start their own recovery high school.
“The whole point of this was to really start that conversation, and it was really almost like a call to action to get people informed, let them know that it’s available, have a discussion after and then really get something going where they start to hit the pavement,” said Diurno.
He says the film has helped other recovery schools build an alliance of support. More and more people are reaching out every day with questions about the movement.
“They just want to tell their story and share what’s worked for them over the last 10 years,” said Diurno.
When people contact Diurno asking how to start a recovery high school in their community, he usually refers them to Sasha McLean, executive director of Archway Academy and vice chairman of the Association of Recovery Schools.
McLean’s and Archway Academy’s doors are always open to anyone who wants to visit and learn how to implement a recovery high school.
Critics and audiences across the country are raving about the film. “Generation Found” is director Greg Williams’ second film about recovery. It follows his award-winning debut, “The Anonymous People.”
According to Diurno, the documentary is Williams’ attempt to show people the impact of recovery high schools on young people in recovery.
“The team’s goal is to really expose this magical thing that was going on in Houston, Texas, and to share it with the rest of the world that you have high school kids, adolescents, and they’re surrounded by recovery all day,” he said.
The film has premiered in 11 cities across the country, including New York, Orlando, Los Angeles, Houston and Washington, D.C.
Many of the screenings drew capacity crowds, with hundreds of people coming out to see the film. Diurno says that the premiere in Seattle was one of the most memorable moments for the “Generation Found” team.
“In Seattle, that was like 400 people, maybe more,” he said. “They had a really good response there and a lot of excitement, and that helped build more buzz. Seattle was one of the biggest ones that was outside of Houston.”
Diurno says that nearly 500 people attended the Houston premiere, which drew the largest crowd of all screenings.
Diurno believes that the first generation of students who attend recovery schools will also be the ones to come back and lead the movement in the years to come.
He says that early addiction detection is crucial to stopping the wave of drug overdoses that is taking American youth and that recovery high schools are a means of doing just that.
“This is something so vital,” said Diurno. “This is life-changing. It’s such a needed thing. It’s something we don’t have enough of.”
For now, the “Generation Found” team’s goal is to spread awareness about this movement and get others to start talking about how recovery high schools could help their communities.
The film is now available for purchase and will soon be on iTunes, Amazon and other digital marketplaces. People can also request a showing of the film at a venue in their city by going to the “Generation Found” website.
“The more people that are talking about it, the better it is,” said Diurno. “This is only the beginning.”