BANGOR, Maine — Maine teens who brought their voices into the conversation about drug addiction were recognized for their efforts during the awards ceremony of the inaugural MaineFocus Film Festival Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center.
Teams of high school students from across the state submitted videos highlighting the effects of drug and alcohol addiction on young lives.
Jacob Caron of Eddington, a Brewer High School graduate, won first place for his video “Only the Great Die Young.”
The short film follows two best friends who go out to drink and celebrate at a party shortly after learning one had been accepted to Harvard and the other was recruited to play football at the University of West Virginia. The revelry turns to tragedy, however, when one of the students drives his friend home from the party under the influence and crashes into another vehicle, killing his friend.
Caron, who is studying film at Emerson College in Boston, was unable to attend the awards ceremony and couldn’t be reached by phone Saturday.
“I decided to put together this film as a sort of reminder as to just how quickly one’s life can be altered by poor decisions in the way of drunk driving,” Caron said in a past interview with the BDN. “Also, to highlight that the consequences of drinking and driving extend far beyond the law and the harming of one’s self, but truly lie in the damage it causes to others.”
Finishing in second place and winning the People’s Choice Award was David Rice of Winterport. Rice, a senior at Hampden Academy, worked alongside his brother, 17-year-old Hampden student Dan Rice,
Their video, “Someone Who Cares,” focuses on a young man addicted to pills he had been using to treat pain resulting from a sports injury. A stranger passing by sees the pills and decides to intervene, eventually convincing the young man to get help.
“The prescription pill problem is a very real problem,” David Rice said at the awards ceremony. “It’s very important for people struggling with addiction to take that first step and get help.”
Dakota Gilpatrick, a Sanford High School senior, finished third with his video “Untitled.” Gilpatrick wrote his own poem, which he recited in the video as paintings flashed on screen.
The poem focused around the idea that an individual might get away with drug use for a while, but eventually it catches up with you.
“I’ve had a lot of experience with drug addiction — personally, a few friends. I wanted to get across a message: You can use drugs and have a good time, but eventually it’s going to come up, and your lies and deceit that you’ve built up to keep doing it is going to come back at you,” Gilpatrick said.
The festival was presented by Project AWARE and Health Affiliates of Maine.