A movie with a message

A film everyone should seeThis is the fourth and final part of a series exploring alcoholism in Michigan written by Carly Keyes, a recovering alcoholic who is on a mission to improve awareness about the disease and ensure others find the help they need. Read her first three posts here, here and here.

I’ve dreamed of making a film for a long time, so I was intrigued when I heard that a student filmmaking group at the University of Michigan called “M-agination” was offering an opportunity for any student to submit a script for possible production. Fueled by passion, hope and a promise I’ve made to myself, I set out to write a story that I wanted to tell on-screen.

My script was chosen and the result is the film Initiation. It’s loosely based on my own experiences being hazed while playing Division I soccer at the University of Pennsylvania. After being locked in a room with my fellow freshmen, we were instructed to consume a gallon of tequila with no chaser. The door would not be unlocked until we’d finished it.

Later, after going through rehab for alcoholism, I wondered what I would have done in that situation if I had been in recovery. How would I have refused without feeling socially ostracized? Those questions are what inspired me to tell the story that is Initiation, about a young man on a varsity soccer team who is pressured to drink at a hazing ceremony, jeopardizing his sobriety.

1973656_230467527145267_1763583847_oInitiation premiered at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor on April 9th. It will be submitted to various local screening opportunities including the Mitten Movie Project as well as national festivals like the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, the Austin Film Festival and the New York City Short Film Festival.

Above all else, I’m hoping this film starts a conversation about the growing practice of people “in power” who force others to consume lethal amounts of alcohol in order to gain approval, to fit in or to be accepted. It’s wrong, and it’s not going to change unless we start talking about it.

See Carly’s movie, Initiation, here. A warning: This video contains some strong language and adult situations.





About Carly: Carly Keyes is originally from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and currently studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where she has a double concentration in Screen Arts & Cultures and Psychology and a minor in Writing. Carly is a filmmaker, a singer-songwriter, and a film journalist and health and fitness columnist for the Michigan Daily newspaper. Find her on Facebook at facebook.com/carlykeyes, follow her on twitter @CarlyKeyes, and discover her talents and learn more about her journey at www.carlykeyes.com.


Photo credit: Luke Roberts

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