Filmmaker Johnny Hickey and Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism Launch F.I.G.H.T. Opiates
BINJ and ‘Oxy-Morons’ Director and Producer Team Up to Join the Fight of Individuals and Organizations Battling the Opiate Crisis
Boston, Mass. (January 8, 2018) – Filmmaker Johnny Hickey and the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism (BINJ) are proud to announce the launch of F.I.G.H.T. (Film Intervening Getting High Team) Opiates, a nonprofit program dedicated to serving as a vehicle for troubled adolescents and adults who have been directly affected by drug abuse.
F.I.G.H.T. Opiates will give people in recovery the skills and resources needed to fight the opiate epidemic around them by way of workshops, offering creative solutions to share their stories while providing the critical community service of truthful, honest reporting and storytelling. In addition to serving as a mentorship program where people will learn about employment opportunities in the entertainment and media fields, the content produced by F.I.G.H.T. will push the envelope for how the opiate crisis is covered throughout Massachusetts, and will reveal the ugly underbelly of affairs to build awareness around the collateral damage of opiate abuse.
“When I tell you I’ve seen, witnessed and experienced every side of the opiate crisis, I mean it,” said F.I.G.H.T. Opiates Founder, Johnny Hickey. “Lucky for me, I fell in love with filmmaking, which took me away from that world and led me to direct, produce and star in my movie, Oxy-Morons, which won awards and propelled my career in the movie industry. I found salvation in filmmaking, and I know others who are battling the opiate crisis can find salvation too, so myself and my team at Mood Swing Moving Pictures are partnering with BINJ to work with organizations and individuals to give them the necessary vehicles to share their stories through the power of film.”
Hickey is currently filming his second movie, Habit, and employed two people with their own positive stories on fighting and beating opiate abuse. Chelsea native Stanley “Stiz Grimey” Bruno is a producer of The Matty & Nick Show on WAAF-FM 107.3 and plays the role of Blake in the flick. Keith Shaffer, who came from a law enforcement family in Dover, landed a job as producer on the film when introduced to Hickey through a mutual friend. Hickey promised Shaffer a job on his film in exchange for promising that he had kicked his opiate habit completely. Shaffer has made good on that promise. “Stanley and Keith are examples that opiate abuse can happen to anyone regardless of class, community and the neighborhoods that raised them,” added Hickey.
While F.I.G.H.T. Opiates creates and distributes content through its own film and web channels, the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism (BINJ) will leverage its team of staff and reporters to distribute fully-produced interviews and segments for local, regional and national television, radio, print and online media outlets.
“We’re changing the narrative for those battling opiate addiction, giving them an unfiltered voice to share the trials and tribulations of their fight,” said Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism Founder, Chris Faraone. “Some media are afraid to share those stories, and would rather talk about the opiate epidemic in terms of stats and figures being up or down since last count. We’re going to change that, giving people an outlet in front of and behind the camera, to show precisely how real their struggle is.”
Coinciding with the launch of F.I.G.H.T. Opiates, Charlestown native and childhood friend of Johnny Hickey, Chris ‘C.T.’ Tamburello, is competing on behalf of the organization on MTV’s ‘The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars.’ Tune into MTV Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. from now through the season finale on Tuesday, January 9, 2017 to see C.T. compete for a share of the $150,000 cash prize for F.I.G.H.T. Opiates.
For more information on F.I.G.H.T. Opiates, please visit www.fightopiates.org. And for more information on BINJ, an innovator-in-residence with Roxbury-based youth media nonprofit, Transformative Culture Project, please visit www.binjonline.org.