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NASW Film Festival Returns July 24 at National Conference

The 2014 National Association of Social Workers National Conference returns on July 24.

The festival will spotlight three documentaries that feature social workers, are made by social workers, or have put public attention on an issue important to the profession.

“Who Cares About Kelsey” looks at an innovative school social work program in New Hampshire that reaches out to troubled students before they are suspended or expelled.

Kelsey Carroll and her family. Photo courtesy of Dan Habib.

Kelsey Carroll, left, and her family. Photo courtesy of Dan Habib.

The film follows the progress of Kelsey Carroll, a high school student who has to deal with homelessness, sexual abuse, self-mutilation and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Carroll, who was in danger of dropping out, also had a mother who was abusing drugs.

“The film is really about a student who was on a trajectory to drop out, get involved in drugs, or get pregnant and/or end up in jail and how the program turned the trajectory around,” film creator Dan Habib said.

“American Winter” follows Portland, Ore., families struggling to find housing, food and funds to pay for utilities in the aftermath of the Recession that began in 2009.

Scene from American Winter.

Scene from American Winter.

Although more people are back at work, many families continue to silently struggle around the nation, the filmmakers said.

“There hasn’t been that much that shows the plight of the poor and the formerly middle class that are struggling so much these days to survive,” said Joe Gantz, who made the film along with his brother Harry. “That is what we are trying to do.”

The Gantz brothers have long been involved in the film industry.
They produced HBO’s Emmy Award-winning series “Taxicab Confessions” and Showtime’s “Sexual Healing,” a sex therapy show featuring National Association of Social Workers member Laura Berman, DSW.
“Justice Denied,” which was co-directed and co-produced by National Association of Social Workers member Geri Lynn Weinstein-Matthews, MSW, LICSW, looks at the sexual abuse of males in the military.

Photo of Michael Matthews when he served in the Air Force in the 1970s. Photo courtesy of Michael Matthews.

Photo of Michael Matthews when he served in the Air Force in the 1970s. Photo courtesy of Michael Matthews.

Weinstein-Matthews is closely involved with this issue.

Her husband, Michael Matthews, was knocked unconscious and raped by other servicesmen when he was a 19-year-old serving in the Air Force.
He kept the assault a secret but that secret had an devastating impact on his psyche.

Michael Matthews suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and attempted suicide six times.

Michael Matthews and Geri Lynn Weinstein-Matthews are using the film to educate others about such incidents and enact new military regulations and legislation to prevent and address such incidents.
“We want people to see this as a human rights issues,” Geri Lynn Weinstein-Matthews said.

Attendees at the NASW 2014 National Conference can attend the film festival, earn continuing education credits and meet filmmakers Harry Gantz and Dan Habib and Michael Matthews and Geri Lynn Weinstein-Matthews.

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  1. Tips for Social Workers: Resources for sexual assault survivors in the military |

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