Cassidy Detmer and Joshua Litton are two friends who have something in common. They’re both recovering drug addicts and they both love cinema. They’d often think of stories to write or movies that they wish they could make and thanks to their ongoing recovery, they start to think that they can achieve that dream. Then one day they are given that opportunity to turn their dream into a reality.
Writing about what they know, Detmer and Litton want to inspire people and to try and understand the reality behind drug addiction. They also know that there’s no better way to do that than through cinema. However, making a film is a difficult thing to do and even worse when you have a dependency on drugs that may call to you at any moment.
Clean Slate is a documentary about a couple of friends who use filmmaking to put them on a better path. Having had histories of drug taking, the two friends share a close bond and they both know how cinema likes to show how drugs work.
On the one hand there could be a story about a man in recovery who overcomes the odds and triumphs in the face of adversity. On the other there’s a dark and gritty story about the dangers of drugs. Clean Slate manages to sit between the two.
Although that image of a hopeful story of two men taking a dream and overcoming their dark pasts may be a crowd pleaser and something that audiences may flock to see, that’s not anything close to reality. Director Jared Callahan works closely with both men and manages to show very different stories along the way.
While Cassidy is feeling more positive about his recovery, Josh relapses twice even before filming has begun which reminds audiences that it’s a constant battle. A battle which is mirrored by the challenge of filmmaking because the urge to go back to your old ways is as unpredictable as the weather.
However, leaving both men as they are and perhaps with their friendship being the only thing that holds them together, Clean Slate shows that not everything is like the movies.
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