Jennifer’s Story

Chestnut Health Systems, one of the largest providers of substance abuse treatment in the country, wanted to highlight some of their client stories. They wanted to show how anyone can fall into addiction regardless of their background, income, age, or other factors. The goal was to show how Chestnut has helped turn lives around. We ended up creating 2 micro-documentaries and 2 spots during this overall project.

Client: Chestnut Health Systems Director: Quinn Wilson


The Challenge

Working with real people who have gone through terrible life traumas, turned to opioids and have come out stronger was an honor and a challenge. To tell Jennifer’s story with compassion and candor was a fine line to walk. It was a challenging interview to get all the bites we knew we needed for the story while being good to Jennifer, and this is a skill we have honed over the years.


The Execution

This was a 4 month project, which included the pre-interviews with possible subjects, shaping Jennifer’s story, pre-production work that involved securing various locations, finding a young actress to play young Jennifer (along with 12 other actors) and storyboarding the narrative. On top of that, we couldn’t shoot the actual interview with Jennifer until day 3 of 5. Our hard working team went the extra mile to get all the shots we needed. We stuck to the plan while also remaining present to the gems we found in the moment.


The Impact

The film has helped people nation wide struggling with addiction to find their way into treatment. It has helped Chestnut gain exposure, grants, public partnerships and brand prestige. Further, it has helped raise thousands of dollars for a scholarship fund for underprivileged people to find treatment.


The first locations of the film (large ominous house) also served as crew housing during the week long shoot in St. Louis. Our producer Kelsey Bunner and Director Quinn Wilson swear it was haunted! They heard noises in the middle of the night that were spooky.

Justin Gilman