Student documentary to be featured in festival

By By Federico Martin

By Federico Martin

On the outside, Judy Fuwell looks like your average wife, mother and grandmother who takes care of her 10-year-old grandson, Michael.

Except for the fact that Fuwell has an autistic daughter, a husband and son with alcohol addictions and another daughter who is homeless and was once addicted to meth. Her rocky family history is all part of a documentary that will be shown to an audience 12 states away.

Fuwell, a sophomore in social work, is the director of the film, which centers on her daughter Amber and her addiction to crystal meth.

“When I first started making the documentary, I wanted to make it about meth and the effects and show it to my daughter Amber and hopefully she would get off drugs,” Fuwell said.

The documentary was made through the Humanities in Focus program, which was created a year ago by Jeff Metcalf, an English professor, and Craig Wirth, a professor in the department of communication. The program is an offspring of the Venture project at Westminster College, which offers students who are unable to attend college because of financial reasons a chance to earn free college credit by committing to a year’s worth of humanities classes.

The documentaries will be shown at the Martha’s Vineyard Independent Film Festival being held in Massachusetts from Sept. 13 to 16.

“Humanities should be a study about how passion is related from one human being to another, and this was a vehicle for them to express that passion,” Wirth said.

For Fuwell, taking part in the documentary program was a way to tell her story, which is an insider’s view of the world of drugs and how easy it is to obtain paraphernalia. It is also about Amber’s life on the streets and near-death experiences. Fuwell said Amber willingly accepted her role in the film.

“I realized this was my way to make a difference,” Fuwell said. “Hopefully it can help somebody.”

And although Fuwell’s daughter is still living on the streets–something Fuwell said she was trying to change by making the film–the documentary has created awareness about meth use and several people have even reached out to Fuwell with their own stories about addiction.

Students interested in the program can contact Metcalf at [email protected] or Wirth at [email protected].

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