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Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal in "Crazy Heart."

Movies like “The Basketball Diaries” with Leonardo DiCaprio and “Crazy Heart” with Jeff Bridges are part of a new film festival with a powerful message.

The Al. Ringling Theatre and Ho Chunk Nation Division of Behavioral Health have teamed up to create the first Recovery Film Festival that will talk about addiction.

The festival will take place Friday and Saturday as part of National Recovery Month, with six films and a speaker that will hold a talk back with each.

The films have been chosen to illustrate that addiction is a treatable illness and that recovery is possible. Many of the films are based on the true stories of people who have suffered from alcoholism and drug addiction and recovered through treatment and the support of 12-step programs.

Guest speakers include Dr. Zorba Paster who will present the keynote address on Friday. Also presenting on Friday will be Dr. Ken Thompson, Chief Medical Officer of Recovery Innovations and Dr. Wes Sowers, Medical Director for the Office of Behavioral Health in Allegheny County, Pa.

Saturday’s presenters will include Bernestine Jeffers, Women’s AODA Treatment/FASD State Coordinator for the Wisconsin Bureau of Prevention Treatment and Recovery, Joe and Stephanie WhiteEagle, addictions counselors for Ho-Chunk Nation Division of Behavioral Health, and Laurie L. Duraney, behavioral health clinician at the House of Wellness.

Ticket prices are $50 for one day pass, $75 for both days, and $7.50 for an individual movie ticket.

Here’s the film lineup:


9 a.m. Keynote: Dr. Zorba Paster

10 a.m. “The Basketball Diaries” starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

1 p.m. “When a Man Loves a Woman” starring Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia.

3 p.m. Dr. Ken Thompson

4 p.m. “Crazy Heart” starring Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

6 p.m. Dr. Wes Sowers


9 a.m. “28 Days” starring Sandra Bullock.

11 a.m. Bernestine Jeffers

1 p.m. “Smoke Signals”

2:30 p.m. Joseph and Stephanie WhiteEagle

3:30 p.m. “My Name is Bill W” starring James Woods and James Garner.

5 p.m. Laurie L. Duraney