The Annual Reel Recovery Film Festival screens films dealing with all aspects and perspectives of ADDICTION AND MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES: The consequences, tragedies, comedies, scientific beliefs, personal experiences, societal influences, attitudes and medical issues, to name a few.

The mission of the festival is to give a forum to new and experienced filmmakers who have made honest and relevant films about the human condition and the world of addiction and recovery. ALL SUBMISSIONS MUST ADDRESS AN ANGLE OF ADDICTION, SUBSTANCE ABUSE, MENTAL HEALTH, SOCIAL DISPARITY AND/OR RECOVERY

We know there are filmmakers with brilliant perspectives on addiction whose work might be overlooked at a mainstream film festival. Last year we screened a very eclectic mix of features, shorts and documentaries . We don't want to wait every few years for Hollywood to embrace this subject when so many independent and established filmmakers are giving voice to this potentially tragic lifestyle.

Our film festivals are screened in New York, Los Angeles, Denver and Fort Lauderdale with the potential of additional cities. Festivals are held year round. Please see the website for festival dates.


WIT offers free referrals for individuals suffering from alcoholism or addiction. We publish the weekly Addiction/ Recovery eBulletin and produce the national REEL Recovery Film Festival & Symposium.

The Reel Recovery Film Festival presents the REEL Recovery Film Festival Audience Favorite Award at the prestigious Experience, Strength and Hope Awards - held in Spring.

The REEL Recovery Film Festival is primarily an EXHIBITION and not an award festival.
Our unique format provides a platform for films about addiction, mental illness, trauma, social ills and recovery to be shown to a like-minded and appreciative audience.

By submitting this film, I understand that I am agreeing to the following:

I own or control the copyright in and to, and am duly authorized to submit this documentary film to the REEL Recovery Film Festival and to the best of my knowledge, all statements on this document are true; this film contains no material, music or product, which could result in tort claims, royalty claims, claims for breach of contract, or claims of any sort whatsoever.

If this film is selected for screening at REEL Recovery Film Festival, I grant REEL Recovery Film Festival the right to screen this film at one or more REEL Recovery Film Festivals in this and subsequent seasons. I understand that selection by the REEL Recovery Film Festival does not guarantee screening at either physical or virtual film festivals.

I understand and agree that this film entry, if selected for the Festival, may be used for promotional purposes for the REEL Recovery Film Festival, and/or its partners and I grant REEL Recovery Film Festival and its partners the rights to use up to three minutes of footage, photographic stills and/or titles and information from the film for promotional purposes.

I fully indemnify and hold Writers In Treatment and its partners harmless from: a) damage to or loss of the film print en route to or from REEL Recovery Film Festival or during the course of Writers In Treatment's possession of the entry; and b) from any claims which may arise in connection with this film. If a claim arises in connection with this film, I will bear all the costs of defense incurred by Writers In Treatment and pay any award of damages which may ensue. I also agree to reimburse Writers In Treatment for any attorney fees incurred in connection with the defense of such a claim.

By signing below, I am indicating that I understand, comply with and agree to the Terms of Entry and the eligibility requirements.

Overall Rating
  • It was a pleasure to have our short programmed alongside so many incredible films. Ahbra and Leonard are the best! Thanks for giving us this opportunity to network with so many talented individuals 🙏

    November 2022
  • Rita Leistner

    What could be better than meeting people who share my two greatest passions: film and photography and recovery. I am hugely grateful to Leonard for founding this festival and to Ahbra, his co-captain of the festival for everything they do to keep it running; and of course for inviting me with my film Forest for the Trees. I don't want to forget to say that the cinema (the Laemmle NoHo) was top notch for sound and projectiong!! Such a pleasure to see my film presented so well (not the case in every festival, as we all well know). Everyone in recovery and everyone who wants to get sober should know about this festival. I met some beautiful fellow-filmmakers and saw some powerful, moving and important films. Overall it was an intense and inspiring experience that reminded me of the value of making recovery a part of our art practice and has given me ideas for my next projects. Thank you for everything Leonard and Ahbra. REEL Recovery Film Festival rocks and so do you! It was definitely worth the trip from Montreal!

    November 2022
  • Barry Rosenthal

    This festival was professionally run and enjoyable to be part of...not to mention that it's goal is to help people in recovery

    November 2022
    Response from festival:

    Dear Barry,
    Thank you for the glowing review and for the opportunity to show the divinely inspired film: The Jewish Jail Lady and The Holy Thief, you helped bring to life.

  • Luella Hill Kim

    Thank you for having NUMB. A fantastic festival experience, warm and inviting. Excellent networking opportunities, supporting filmmakers, and important subject matter; mental health.

    November 2022
    Response from festival:

    Dear Luella, Thank you for submitting NUMB a very timely film tackling difficult subjects. Your honest and heartfelt performance in the film was powerful as was your participation in the Q&A afterwards. I hope you will be part of the festival again. Please let me know how we could improve our communications. Thank you, Ahbra Schiff

  • What a joy to be a part of the REEL Recovery Film Festival. Working with Founder and Director, Leonard Buschel and Co- Director Ahbra Schiff was amazing. Their passion, honesty, and love of showcasing films about addiction and mental health is visionary and life-changing. They are heroes on an important mission. All of us on the cast and crew of Bridge to the Other Side were so happy to be a part of this beautiful festival in North Hollywood. They love film and it shows. The theatre was gorgeous - sound and projection topnotch. The talkback was moving and audiences were ready to go deep and discuss the film. We met wonderful filmmakers and producers doing work that matters and is inspiring. Great conversations and connections and networking events. All in all - a wonderful festival with authentic and visionary leadership. Thank you so much, Ahbra and Leonard!

    November 2022
    Response from festival:

    Dear KT, We love you and your work. We are always grateful to have your film and work and presence at the REEL Recovery Film Festival. You are a consummate professional and an example of perseverance, persistence and striving for excellence. Thank you for the incredibly kind words.