A self-described “dreadful avalanche of a child,” Leanne leaves her troubled home life at the age of fourteen, setting off on what she thinks will be a grand adventure. She is in search of what she considers her missing piece—family. On her many travels through city streets and jailhouse yards, she instead finds a string of dysfunctional relationships, life on the run, and drug addiction. At twenty-six, she is hooked on heroin, married to a batterer, and pregnant. When the Department of Social Services takes the baby away, she discovers the true meaning of family and reclaims her power. In her journey to recover her son, she also discovers what she had been looking for all along: quiet.
This video is composed of a series of illustrated excerpts from the manuscript of a book-length memoir. It is dedicated to anyone who has, or has loved someone who has, lived with abuse or addiction—and for anyone who has set out in search of family.
A lifelong writer and photographer, Leanne Simon was brought to the documentary arts through her work in social justice. Since 2009, she has produced numerous videos and photo essays that have been used to help raise awareness of local and international issues and to spur communities to action. In summer 2014, she will be traveling to Colombia to make a film about the detrimental effects of free trade in Latin America. For this project, she turned her focus inward to examine how her personal experiences color her view of the world. Some of her work can be seen online at pinholeandplaten.wordpress.com.
This was the final project for the Certificate in Documentary Arts at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. See more Spring 2014 final projects at cdsporch.org/archives/22348.