Substance abuse is one of the most destructive social problems people encounter in their lives. For those addicted to drugs and alcohol, rehab may be their only solution and The Florida House Experience and producer, James Walhberg, wanted to create a project that would both unite the patients as group and shine a light on this issue. When they approached director, Jokes Yanes, about doing a video we all assumed that it would be another quickie video tour, but we were wrong.
James would go on to explain that he wanted a film that explained how some addictions could be traced back to a learned behavior from the people closest to them, but most importantly – he wanted a film. And that’s what our task was, to create a FILM for The Florida House Experience directed toward their women’s division. It was a filmmaker’s dream, no time limit and complete cooperation from The Florida House Experience of South Florida.
As a true filmmaker and producer, James Walhberg, incorporated this project directly into the inner workings of the innovative drug and alcohol abuse rehab center, The Florida House Experience. Together James Walhberg and The Florida House Experience was able to motivate some of their patients to get in touch with their creative side and share their stories. He took a story from, Candice Stevens, and allowed directors, Jokes Yanes and Mike Yebba, to mold it into the screenplay that birthed this short film. (link to short film).
The Lost Doll centers around Sandra, played by Juliana Harkavy, who is struggling with alcohol addiction and how it affects her relationship with her young daughter Ana, played by Jackie Frasey. The story begins after another night of drinking as Sandra is hung-over at the kitchen table, Ana wakes her up asking for breakfast but her mother snaps at her violently. After Sandra finds Ana playing with a beat up old doll from her childhood, she recalls how her mother treated her while she was drunk and realizes how similar she has been treating Ana. Eventually Sandra understands that she doesn’t want her daughter to go down the road she did and decides to check herself into The Florida House Experience to get help. A powerful, dramatic performance is on display as Sandra’s mother, played by Yulia Kay, yells and screams at a young Sandra in a flashback scene. Director, Jokes Yanes, brilliantly uses repairing of the old doll as a metaphor for going into rehab and getting help to repair yourself.
The film was presented to a private audience at The Florida House Experience to a standing ovation and was eventually re-edited into a TV commercial that aired on the television show Boston’s Finest and re-edited into a PSA for alcohol abuse. The project is currently in use at The Florida House Experience in their women’s division.
Special thanks to RUM BUM Film & HD Studios, who co-produced the project, Michael Zoyes from RUM BUM who acted as the Director of Photography, Peter Ebanks who acted as both a producer and the production manager, and Phantom Grip and Lighting who supplied the lighting and grip gear as well as the G&E crew.