“You can do this — and if you do, you will never be the same.” That’s the pitch Mike Johnson, director of a Seattle homeless shelter and residential drug treatment facility, makes to his charges in A New High, Samuel Miron and Stephen Scott Scarpulla’s feature documentary that is having its world premiere in competition at this month’s Los Angeles Film Festival.
The trailer reveals a novel take on combating the struggles faced by addicts every minute, every hour and every day. It centers on Johnson, a kind of addiction recovery Sherpa, who the filmmakers followed as he recruits some of his shelter’s residents to train for an epic hike to summit Washington State’s Mt. Rainier (elevation: 14,400 feet). The idea? That the focus and commitment of the training and the climb will give them the internal and external strength to help them maintain their sobriety.
Check out the trailer for the docu, produced by Philip Erdoes, Eamon Downey and Rebby Gregg. It bows at the fest June 14 with a later screening June 17. The pic is being sold by ICM Partners.