BIC Media Solutions’ ‘Rock Bottom and Back™’ shares stories of hope
BIC Media Solutions recently held its world premiere event for “Rock Bottom and Back — From Desperation to Inspiration” in front of a packed house at the Prytania Theatre in New Orleans on August 18, 2016. BIC Media Solutions and The New Orleans Mission came together to celebrate the power of personal transformation in the oldest single-screen theatre still operating in Louisiana.
“Rock Bottom and Back™,” a docu-drama co-produced by BIC Media Solutions, YASNY Entertainment and Mission Media Productions — The New Orleans Mission’s very own media department — takes viewers on a journey through incredible hardships, from the struggles of everyday citizens to those of celebrities. During the New Orleans premiere, attendees experienced firsthand accounts of significant issues — including addiction, sexual trauma and abandonment — highlighting the unthinkable pain that can lead anyone to reach rock bottom. As a locally renowned treasure, the Prytania Theatre provided the perfect backdrop to showcase a film created by individuals who have been given their own second chance to return from difficult situations.
Mission Media Productions gives homeless individuals the opportunity to develop artistic talents through the creation of viable media products in the form of film, photography, a live rescue radio program and more. Under the direction of longtime producer Steven Scaffidi, Mission Media participants hone natural talents to shoot, edit and develop beautiful productions. “Rock Bottom and Back” is one such project. As guests arrived at the historical theatre, a photo-op greeted them via a step-and-repeat banner highlighting The New Orleans Mission, BIC Media Solutions and Mission Media Productions. Attendees enjoyed the chance to capture the impactful moment by posing for group photos prior to the premiere.
In keeping with rich New Orleans tradition, a wealth of authentic jambalaya was prepared and served to guests by New Orleans Mission Chef and Director of Operations John Proctor. Proctor, who is responsible for providing over 700 meals to homeless men and women each day, is himself an example of overcoming adversity and using this struggle to touch the lives of those who need a helping hand the most.
As guests trickled into the theatre, Scaffidi welcomed everyone to the world premiere of the first documentary produced by homeless individuals, while BIC Media Solutions’ Earl Heard shed light on the inspiration behind it.
“The idea for this project sprang from my own experience,” Heard said. “I have hit rock bottom several times both professionally and personally, so I know how hard it is to come back. I wanted to create something that would show everyone that hitting bottom is tough, sometimes life-shattering, but we can come back to be happier and more successful than we could imagine by learning from those who have faced overwhelming adversity. This book reminds us that we are never alone; God and people who care are always available if we reach out for help. The stories of the people we have featured in the book and DVD are a shining example of that.”
Devin Black, Mission Media’s cinematographer, recounted his journey from living in a box under a bridge to becoming a talented film specialist and an integral member of a small, interconnected team. Before the film kicked off, The New Orleans Mission Executive Director David Bottner — also a subject of the documentary — reinforced the project’s goal to help people who are overcoming insurmountable adversities recover and give back to others.
A special Q&A was held after the credits rolled, during which Black, Heard, Bottner and Scaffidi answered questions surrounding the inspiration and production of the innovative project. Scaffidi also introduced the audience to the entire Mission Media team, who earned a round of applause for their dedication to the creation of “Rock Bottom and Back.” As the session wrapped, guests retired to the lobby, where DVDs and books were available for purchase. Attendees could have their books signed by those involved in “Rock Bottom and Back.” A special book cover featuring Bottner was created for the event; proceeds directly benefitted The New Orleans Mission.
The “Rock Bottom and Back” book — written by The New York Times-bestselling author Susan Mustafa with Earl Heard — depicts the incredible lives of 22 people who hit rock bottom and then came back from profound despair to help others in extraordinary ways.
While certainly inspirational in tone, “Rock Bottom and Back” also offers hope to those who have hit bottom and a roadmap to wellness, redemption and ultimately a successful life.
The book features several heroes who reside in Louisiana and, despite having lost their homes and personal belongings to “The Great Flood of 2016,” are helping others in their times of need and demonstrating what living in service to others is all about. Mustafa has lost everything, and after writing about stories of others who have hit rock bottom, she is experiencing this trauma firsthand. Heard has been forced out of his home due to the flood and is now working out of a trailer and providing shelter to others in his company who were without it. Proceeds from the launch of this book will also be provided to local charities in the Baton Rouge area to help those in need.
“The timing of this book’s release is a gift from God,” explained Heard. “This project has a definite purpose, even more so after what’s happened in Louisiana.”
The companion DVD — narrated by actor Danny Trejo — features interviews with Jerry Strickland, Whitney Strickland, Tonja Myles, Stanley Roberts, David Bottner and Billy Rivers, whose stories are highlighted in the book.
To coincide with “Rock Bottom and Back,” BIC Media Solutions will also launch its own inspirational speakers bureau (ISB) and events featuring celebrities as well as ordinary people. Among other topics, these speakers will provide inspiration and hope by illustrating recovery and success are possible through living in service to others.
With a theme surrounding powerful experiences from hardship to triumph, the New Orleans premiere of “Rock Bottom and Back” set the framework for telling the story of one truly unique project. The “Rock Bottom and Back” DVD and book are now available online from Amazon and on the official website.
For more information about “Rock Bottom and Back” or BIC Media Solutions’ ISB, visit www.rockbottomandback.com or call (800) 460-4242. Bulk order discounts are available for “Rock Bottom and Back.”