SYNOPSIS

22 TRT | USA | 2021

Issouf Simpore is an immigrant living in the United States of America struggling with adapting to a new country and a new culture while battling an ongoing substance abuse addiction. When he finds himself on the wrong side of the law he is presented with a choice; a future in prison or attending Texas’s DWI Court aimed at reducing recidivism by allowing individuals to go through an intense rehabilitation program. His decision will change his life forever.

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BACKGROUND

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (responsibility.org) leads the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and promotes responsible decision-making regarding beverage alcohol. Supported by nine of America’s distillers who lead with a strong commitment to responsibility, Responsibility.org’s distinguished National Advisory Board and our partners at the national and local level help them to reach a broad audience, guiding a lifetime of conversations about alcohol responsibility across all 50 U.S. states and in our nation’s capital.

Responsibility.org has collaborated with key partners in the fields of traffic safety, criminal justice, and supervision and treatment to eliminate impaired driving through best practices with a focus on high-risk impaired drivers. They believe DWI Courts are one of the potential solutions to the ongoing crisis and by sharing Issouf’s story it will serve as a platform to open up the discussion about the use and expansion of DWI Courts.

DWI Courts are specialized, comprehensive court programs that provide a structure of appropriate treatment, supervision, and accountability. A team approach is utilized as judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, law enforcement, probation officers, treatment practitioners, and other involved stakeholders work together with court participants. These courts are designed to change behavior among the high risk/high need drunk driver population and thus, reduce recidivism. The long-lasting results that are achieved through participation in these courts ultimately save lives.

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DIRECTOR'S NOTES

by Justin Jarrett

Responsibility.org’s mission has always been personal to me. Early on in my life, I lost my best friend to a DWI and that has shaped many of my choices and decisions as a filmmaker in my career. So when producers from Responsibility.org approached me about directing this project, I was intrigued at having the opportunity to sit down and talk to someone on the other side of a DWI and try to gain an understanding about how they got to that point in their life. I was also excited by the fact that SOBER Court (which I had never even heard of at the time) offered an alternate solution that, to me, worked on fixing the root of the problem.

From the moment that I met Issouf, I knew he wanted to make a change in his life. Before I had ever sat down and talked to him about what led him to this point – his struggles with substance abuse, feelings of being alone as an immigrant, the pressures of being a new parent and the loss of his own, I knew that he was grateful for the opportunity to turn it all around. I could tell that he was ready just by the way he carried himself and how excited he was to graduate from SOBER Court.

I think too often, we see someone commit a crime and we immediately jump to the punishment for that crime, but we fail to step back and look at how we can help this person. Do we as a society have the ability to honestly help this person get their life back on track? Do we make those tools readily available to them, or do we simply lock them up and throw away the key hoping the problem simply solves itself? My hope was that as filmmakers we could open the door to society beginning to look at Issouf as a human being that needs our help rather than a statistic that happens to be a human being. Then, hopefully, if we are lucky maybe his story could help someone else and so on and so forth. Eventually, changing the conversation and beginning to reduce the problem that is recidivism.

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CREDITS

PRESENTED BY: RESPONSIBILITY.ORG
PRODUCED BY JTWO FILMS
WRITTTEN + DIRECTED BY: Justin Jarrett
PRODUCERS:
Brandy Nannini Axdahl
Leslie Kimball
Genevieve Adams
Sam Nathews
Travis Capacete
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER:
Conor Hare
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Maria Vattimo
ASSISTANT CAMERA:
Jay Miller
Alex Siwik
LOCATION SOUND:
Jelani Thomas
EDITED BY:
Ian Schobel
Maria Cantu
COLORIST:
Ian Schobel
Dave Bauer
SOUND ENGINEER:
Steven Layton
VISUAL EFFECTS:
Matthew Collamore
SPECIAL THANKS:
Judge Paula Goodhart
Theresa May
Dr. Brian Lovins
Perla Khan
Aundrea Bell
Judge Diane Bull
Jim Eberspacher
Rhonda Lawson
Harris County S.O.B.E.R Court
STOCK FOOTAGE
Pond 5
ArtGrid

This project was made possible through our Projects That Matter Initiative.  The Projects That Matter Initiative is a program that was created over a decade ago for the benefit of non-profit organizations by providing them with cost-effective solutions for video production and other creative services. If you are a non-profit organization and are interested in learning how your organization can qualify or to simply learn more click the button below.