American Meth At Liberty Theatre
Glenn Walsh | 9/13/07
Two showings of American Meth, an award winning documentary about the dangers of a drug all-too-prevalent in Pagosa, played to full houses last week at the Liberty Theatre.  Joanne Irons, the head of Mothers Against Meth and organizer of the showings, counted 215 for the two free showings.  

It was an unusually popular film with many local teens.  I had no sense that the kids were fulfilling some homework assignment or trailing their parents to the showing.  Justin Hunt, the director, had spoken with the high school film students earlier that day and displayed a direct and easygoing manner with scores of young people who approached him with questions and compliments.

Event organizer Joanne Irons with American Meth director Justin Hunt
The idea for the showing was not dropped in Irons’ lap but placed in her hand.  In April Jann Pitcher handed Irons an anti-meth sticker and said “ go there.” Irons did and contacted director Justin Hunt about a local screening.  Irons reported, “There was a screening in Durango, but I couldn’t get to it.  You know me.  If I can’t get to it, I just bring it here.”

Hunt, a New Mexico broadcast journalist now living in Farmington, worked on the film for a year and a half, starting in late 2005 after he was “challenged by a friend to do something a little bit bigger and really try to change people.”

Hunts’ film is literally award winning — present tense.  American Meth continues to win festival prizes, this week winning the Audience Choice Documentary at the Fort Collins Film Festival.  Hunt reports the film is showing in 15 states and 6 countries.  He hopes to have it picked up for distribution by end of the year.

Local student filmmakers circled around Hunt and discussed shooting and editing techniques and the awkward experiences of filming inside a family’s harrowing problems.

Almost uniformly the teens felt the strongest part of Hunts film was his depiction of the daily grimness of “the way the kids live.  Watching an eight-year get up and walk into the kitchen alone with no expectation that anyone would be making breakfast for him was unreal.”

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