In a misguided attempt to protect his friend from an extortionist, a man hijacks a blackmail scheme...
A man discovers a box of interviews with his father, a life-long heroin addict who died of AIDS in 1997. What he finds will uncover generations of family secrets, forcing him to redefine his own past, doubt his present, and question his future.
Director Jason Charnick
Producer Jason Charnick & Nathan Oliver
Writer Jason Charnick
Cast Jason Charnick, Arnie Charnick, Raymond Charnick, Denny McLain, Stuart Birnbaum, Dave Shapiro
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It's also on Kanopy and all major cable TV VOD systems in the US & Canada, as well as DVD/Blu-ray.
"I can count on both hands the number of times I saw my father when he was alive." Going back almost 20 years before the actual production of GETTING OVER, this was a common refrain whenever someone asked me about my dad. I have fond memories of him, of those rare times, but I really couldn't say I knew him very well. In May of 1997, I got a call from his brother, my uncle Arnie, who invited me to see my dad in the hospital to show him my college diploma. It had been a few years since I had seen him, and of course I wanted to share my greatest accomplishment to date. Arnie told me that he was videotaping my dad, interviewing him about his life, since he was pretty sick at the time. He had acquired AIDS about a decade prior, a side effect of being a lifelong heroin addict. My uncle, although not famous by any means, had carved out a nice niche for himself as an artist in New York, and he wanted to document my father's life for the future. He thought it might make an intriguing project someday. A couple of years later, Arnie gave me the tapes and into a box they went. That box would sit at the back of closets in six different apartments across two coasts over the course of the next 15 years. I never forgot they were there, and I always knew I would do something with them, but never had the nerve to actually sit down and watch anything. It took a low point in my life to finally get me to dive into the deep end. My life was a bit shiftless at the time - this was 2011 - both my work and personal lives were shaky to say the least, so I finally opened that closet door and pulled out that box. The box must have been Pandora's in a former life, because once I opened it, everything started to change. It was one revelation after another after another. I learned the whole story behind things I only vaguely knew about, found out much more I never knew, and had my own memories completely redefined by the truth. Words cannot adequately express the sensation when you hear the full story about a moment in your own childhood that you held dear for 30 years, only to discover that everything you know is wrong. As I continued watching the tapes, as I learned more about my father, his life, his friends, even my own mother, something started changing inside me. What initially started out as a means of getting to know my father, turned into something far greater. I wanted the world to get to know him too. He was affable, intelligent, funny, and incredibly self-aware, but unfortunately to the world around him, he was simply branded an addict. In the ensuing 6 years, while I spoke with the people who knew him best, GETTING OVER became less a film about just my father and his addiction, but more a film about relationships. The relationship between him and my uncle, the relationship between us, but most importantly, the relationship I have with myself. I grew up in a pretty stable household without him in my life, and I never really gave much thought to how I might actually be like him. The question then became, what I can learn about myself from learning about him? That, I think, is what makes GETTING OVER so unique. I had set out to make a particular film, and over the course of production, it became much, much more. And I wasn't just watching someone else's life through the lens, I was living it and experiencing it all myself. It gives a new depth and dimension to a story you might think you already know. It's this point of view that I hope draws the viewer in, giving them an opportunity to think more personally about addiction, and how their own lives might have been affected by it. I also couldn't do this by myself. It's quite a tall task to be on both sides of the camera, especially when you don't really know what's going to happen! My producing partner Nathan Oliver played a pivotal role. His expertise in production helped keep things on track during the early stages, and when we needed to fine-tune the structure of the film one last time, Nathan came in with his uncanny storytelling ability and helped solve that puzzle. I'd also be hard pressed to find anyone else willing to take a week away from their friends and family to crash with me on my uncle's floor in New York while we shot the majority of footage together, just the two of us. After we shot that footage, I first needed help to craft the story of the film in such a way to make it compelling and relatable to a general audience. I was blessed and honored to find my editor, Sharon Rutter, through a simple online ad. Not only is she a talented filmmaker in her own right, she was also touched by addiction, and really helped find the right tone for the film and helped me find my voice as a filmmaker. Of the many special moments that occurred while making GETTING OVER, finding her was truly one of the highlights. Most importantly, I have to thank my wife, Paige. I met her during the early days of our crowdfunding, and what started as a casual dating situation, turned into her becoming a Kickstarter backer, which in turn led her role as a co-producer. She got to see my personal transformation first-hand, and was still willing to marry me! This film certainly wouldn't be what it is without her influence and patience. Through this entire experience, I have learned more about my father than I ever imagined. I have reconnected with my extended family and will soon be starting my own as well. I've come in contact with many amazing people I would never have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. It has been such a magical experience already, and has brought me a peace and understanding that working on any other project couldn’t hope to match.
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