February 2020 In an effort to help eradicate the stigma associated with addiction and the addiction awareness effort, Zionsville Monthly sat down with the team behind the production of a new documentary, \u201cThe Addict\u2019s Wake,\u201d to discuss not only the film\u2019s purpose but to take an honest look at some of the lives profoundly affected by addiction. It is the hope of the film\u2019s director, producers and creative team that \u201cThe Addict\u2019s Wake\u201d will shine a light on the nation\u2019s number one public health crisis and the devastating \u201cripple effect\u201d that addiction has on families and communities. Zionsville resident Michael Husain is the film\u2019s director and is an Emmy Award-winning documentary director, writer and producer. Husain is known for his help in launching the A&E documentary series \u201cAmerican Justice\u201d and has created hundreds of hours of documentaries for The History Channel, HGTV, TLC, The Discovery Channel, PBS, A&E and ESPN. Husain has been awarded a Crystal Heart at the Heartland Film Festival for his independent film \u201cThe Innocent,\u201d which was also awarded the Jury Prize for \u201cBest non-fiction film\u201d at the Indianapolis International Film Festival. The Film\u2019s Premise Under the picturesque rolling hills, the beautiful state parks and the unique charm of the tourist shops and eateries in Nashville, Indiana, lies terrible disease. This community is a microcosm of what is happening all across rural America. In an effort to reveal the true struggles of these communities, the director and producers have banded together to produce \u201cThe Addict\u2019s Wake.\u201d This documentary examines the deep scars addiction to meth and opioids leave on the user and on the community as a whole. Many people have met untimely deaths, and many are destroying their lives on a daily basis. Husain and his executive producers, Amy Pauszek and Lisa Hall, are collaborating with law enforcement, the school system, faith-based initiatives, courts and area treatment facilities in order to obtain crucial interviews and accurate data to support the authenticity of this documentary. Husain, Pauszek and Hall were generous to share what motivated each of them to embark on an arduous and often heartbreaking journey to create this film. Michael Husain\u2014Director At a young age, Husain knew that he wanted to be in the business of storytelling. Husain began his career in the news industry before gravitating to directing and writing documentaries. When asked what compels him to create documentaries over shorts or other film projects, he said, \u201cWhen people watch a good documentary and it speaks to them, it\u2019s generally because the storyteller has done a good job of being authentic to what is happening . I have tried to do that to the best that I can. With addiction, you have a multilayered issue. From a societal perspective, there is tremendous human cost. People are dying or being severely damaged\u2014people and families. It\u2019s not just the person struggling with addiction. That\u2019s why [the film] is called \u2018The Addict\u2019s Wake.\u2019 Behind the addict is a wake of people affected.\u201d Michael Husain\u2014Director Husain further explained that there is no socioeconomic divider, no racial divider and no religious divider in terms of addiction. \u201cOne of the people in our documentary is an addict and a pastor\u2019s son,\u201d Husain said. \u201cIn Brown County, where the population is 15,000, they had four young men\u2014between the ages of 25 to 30\u2014die in under a 12-month period before they had reached any kind of potential. Each were from different walks of life. That was a huge wake-up call for that community. A lot of communities have realized the enormous problem , but there are still a number of communities that have not.\u201d Husain added, \u201cIf other communities can see this documentary and simply acknowledge that there is a problem, be open and communicative, then you can start to find solutions. There is no shame in talking about addiction. Americans are renowned for being innovative. We could find some really innovative solutions once more people start talking about it.\u201d Amy Pauszek\u2014Executive Producer Pauszek has worked as a key producer, publicist and actress in several feature films, shorts, TV and commercials. She attended the Toronto International Film Festival as an international programmer, is a Heartland Film President\u2019s Award winner and is a proud member of the Truly Moving Pictures Jury. Amy was an executive producer\/producer for \u201cA Sign of the Cross,\u201d which aired on PBS and currently is traveling across the country with her award-winning documentary short film \u201cGrateful.\u201d She is an award-winning freelance photographer. Amy Pauszek\u2014Executive Producer \u201cAfter the incredible experience I had with \u2018Grateful,\u2019 I didn\u2019t want to jump into another project and make just any film,\u201d Pauszek shared. \u201cI waited over a year to think of something that I could produce that would make a difference.\u201d Pauszek got \u201cthe calling\u201d after seeing a friend\u2019s post on Facebook talking about the death of a young person lost to addiction. \u201cThere were several hundred comments on her post,\u201d Pauszek said. \u201cPeople were asking what they could do. How can we stop these deaths from happening? Upon reading that post, I knew this was it\u2014this local [addiction crisis] was going to be the next film. I didn\u2019t know Lisa prior to this Facebook post, but I saw her comments, and that compelled me to contact her through Facebook. I told her I was interested in making a documentary. Michael, Lisa and I ended up all knowing each other through previous projects or other circles. When we first met\u2014all together\u2014the synergy was just amazing.\u201d Pauszek added, \u201cI am passionate about making films that make a difference, and I believe this film is going to be a vessel for schools, hospitals and centers, correctional facilities, churches and law enforcement. When producing a film, I visualize where it\u2019s going and strategize how I\u2019m going to get it out to different venues. For me, producing is about getting the story out, and that sincerely comes from my heart.\u201d Lisa Hall\u2014Executive Producer Hall is a veteran marketer for multiple products and services and also serves on the board of the Brown County Playhouse and several not-for-profit organizations. She is a graduate of Indiana University\u2019s Business School with a Masters from Moody Bible Seminary. Lisa works with women in incarceration and has taught Creating Positive Relationships in Fishers, Westfield and Carmel School Systems. She also speaks to women\u2019s groups and organizations. She resides in Brown County and has seen firsthand the destructive wake addiction has on her community. Lisa Hall\u2014Executive Producer \u201c is the number one health issue plaguing our country,\u201d Hall said. \u201cIn 2018, $186 billion dollars fell on federal, state and local governments in the areas of death, health care, legal and other expenditures. At the time I did this research, another $214 billion dollars was projected for 2019. These costs are rising, not decreasing. In 2018, $96 billion dollars was lost in workplace productivity\u2014nationwide. Whether people think they\u2019re affected or not, we are all affected indirectly as consumers and taxpayers footing the bill or directly by knowing someone or a loved one who is struggling with addiction.\u201d Completing This Important Documentary Takes Community Support Husain, Pauszek and Hall are actively fundraising to complete the film that is in production, but in order to finish the film to the standard that the people who have opened their lives and shared their intimate stories so that others may be spared deserve, the team needs financial support from community stakeholders and individuals who believe that this documentary can save lives and help erode the ugly stigma that manifests around addiction. The team needs another $50,000 to $60,000 to complete the film. It will need another $50,000 for distribution of the film, but the immediate goal is to finish the film. Local folks such as Don Katz and Lynda Goeke are hosting fundraisers at their homes for \u201cThe Addict\u2019s Wake\u201d and helping raise awareness of the film\u2019s purpose. For more information on how to become a supporter of the film and to view the trailer of \u201cThe Addict\u2019s Wake,\u201d visit theaddictswake.com.