“What About the Kids,” the latest short film from writer and director Jim Wahlberg, highlights the devastating nature of opioid addiction and the role faith plays in recovery and healing.
The film, which premiered virtually on Tuesday night, follows Chloe (Layla Scalisi), the 8-year-old daughter of drug addicts. After her mother dies from a drug overdose, she’s sent to live with her grandparents. Though they love her, taking on the responsibility of a small child forces them to restructure their lives and future. In the face of struggles, Chloe’s grandmother, Debbie (Patti D’Arbanville), relies on her deep faith and prayer to carry her family.
Meanwhile, while seeking treatment at a halfway house, Chloe’s dad (Caleb Scott) grapples with feelings of guilt stemming from his continued drug use, his wife’s death, and the loss of his daughter. The poignant film drives home the fact that opioid addiction has far-reaching and costly effects — yet redemption is always possible.
Ahead of the premiere, Wahlberg, the executive director of the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation and head of Wahl St. Productions, briefly shared his own story of recovery.
“This is not stuff that I learned from a book, you know this is stuff that I learned from my life,” Wahlberg, who shares his story in his book The Big Hustle, said. “I had what I like to refer to as a tough paper route. You know I got started, very, very young. I started to experiment with drugs and alcohol at a very, very young age, and was out in the street.”
“Now, we’re making films about addiction from a faithful perspective,” he continued. “This film is a story about a faithful family and their struggles.”
Though Wahlberg has made over 10 films on addiction, “What About the Kids” is his first foray into the faith-based world, he said. He revealed that the storyline was inspired by the numerous grandparents he’s met over the years forced to raise their grandchildren after losing a child to an overdose.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett