A Message From The Filmmaker: Given the current efforts of the Justice Department to reemphasize punitive responses to problematic drug use, we need discussions about alternative forms of intervention as much as ever. "Getting High" can help push our national discussion forward and encourage reflection on how best to help people struggling with addiction.
To that end, I am now making the film available for free viewing on Vimeo. Please share the link below with your friends, social networks, and organizations.
“Getting High” reveals how our society’s bitter conflicts about the “War on Drugs” arise from our personal histories.
When his son is arrested for possessing drugs for sale, Victor Silverman’s initial reaction is to sign up for the war on drugs–despite being from the counterculture. Yet as he explores the issue in conversation with members of both Houses of Congress, people in recovery, activists, law enforcement, and treatment experts, he learns how personal experiences contribute to our country’s crisis of aggressive law enforcement and overcrowded prisons.
“Getting High” reaches across political, social, and emotional barriers:
We see an America simultaneously drawn to and repelled by mind-altering substances, a place of profound divisions where millions struggle with addiction but have few alternatives for help without long-lasting criminal sanctions. The film probes into what works and what is wrong with court-mandated drug treatment.
The US is at a turning point in dealing with crime, prisons, and drugs. This film can help our country find a better way to deal with compulsive substance use, one where needed drug and prison reform won’t simply mean abandoning addicts to their fates. The combination of personal voice and more traditional interviews weaves individual stories into a broader social, historical and political fabric. This combination allows viewers to understand viscerally and intellectually the need for alternative forms of intervention.
Emmy winning filmmaker and historian Victor Silverman has created a deeply personal yet politically compelling film. It is currently in post-production. We need your help bring out this important story.
Victor Silverman is an Emmy-award winning filmmaker, historian and author. An internationally-recognized scholar and the recipient of prestigious fellowships and grants, Professor Silverman is the author of numerous books and articles. His films have screened on national and international television and in hundreds of film festivals, universities and community events around the world. His current film project is “Commies, Coloreds, and Queers”: The Stormy Voyage of the Marine Cooks and Stewards Union” which is in development. His last film, “Getting High,” (2017) is a provocative, feature-length documentary about his family’s collision with drugs and alcohol set against a backdrop of our society’s bitter conflicts about the “War on Drugs.” Professor Silverman directed, produced and wrote with Susan Stryker the Emmy-winning film “Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria,” about the night in 1966 when trans women and drag queens fought back against police violence in San Francisco's tough Tenderloin neighborhood. Professor Silverman is the author of three books—plus an in-progress manuscript co-authored with Pomona Professor Miguel Tinker Salas: Trumplandia: The US and Latin America in the Age of Smoke and Mirrors which examines law and social networks in US interventions in the Americas. His other works include California: On the Road Histories (with poet Laurie Glover); Los Angeles Times Front Pageand Imagining Internationalism. He is often quoted in the press for his expertise in politics and history and his scholarly work encompasses a diversity of topics including U.S., international politics, labor, Jewish, queer and environmental history. He has particular expertise in the past and present of U.S. foreign relations, global institutions and world social movements. He earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Berkeley in 1990 and has taught at universities in the U.S. and China. Silverman has worked as union organizer and consulted with the international labor movement on sustainable development policy. He is a former radio public service and dramatic program producer and writer for KPFA, Berkeley and KRRC in Portland. He authored several plays and screenplays, including a stage adaptation of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” which he directed. He also has been an actor, dancer, construction laborer and plumber.