Emmitsburg-based filmmaker Conrad Weaver’s new documentary, Heroin’s Grip has been making waves in a community affected by an addiction epidemic.
The documentary offers viewers hope, understanding, and empathy for those who have struggled with addiction or are currently dealing with the effects of opiates.
Weaver’s in-depth look at the critical issues of opioid addiction premiered locally this September, and the impact of the film is already catching the eye of filmmakers around the country. It all started by Weaver paying close attention to the people close to him and their personal issues with addiction.
“One of my friend’s kids got tangled into this mess, and hearing their stories and their struggles and seeing it on the news every day made me decide to jump into it and figure out how to tell this story,” Weaver said. “I couldn’t sit on the sidelines any longer and just turn my head away. I just had to get into it and get involved somehow.”
The response from the community has been tremendous for Weaver and his team, and it comes at a time when Frederick County and thousands of others need the message most.
“We had a screening [locally] a couple weeks ago and the feedback to that was just amazing,” Weaver said. “Immediately, I started getting calls from people around the country looking to screen the film.”
The reach of the film is perhaps what may drive awareness most, and that awareness is what Weaver is striving for. “We really hope to help people understand addiction, help them to have a little more empathy for those who are caught up in it, and I believe that is what that film is doing.”
While the documentary has been a local hit so far, soon the world may get to understand Weaver’s vision behind Heroin’s Grip. “My goal is for as many people to see it as possible,” Weaver said. “It really does change your perspective on this problem, and specifically what opioids do to the brain.”
Weaver plans to show his film locally again and hopes to have it broadcast in theaters nationwide. For Weaver, if Heroin’s Grip helps erase some of the stigma surrounding addiction or helps another to understand and support those in recovery, the documentary will have done its job.
The sense of satisfaction in filmmaking is not always about the money. Sometimes, a story needs to be told for the good of the people, and Weaver’s documentary is giving people just that. “This is my third feature documentary I’ve produced, and I love telling stories. Projects like this are near and dear to my heart.”