Scenes of addiction: Local filmmaker capturing the harrowing cost of the heroin epidemic

Using the tools of a filmmaker, Tadin J. Brown is dramatizing what state officials are calling Maine’s opioid epidemic.

“The film is about dependency, addiction, that’s what it’s really about,” said Brown, a 22-year-old filmmaker from Portland, referring to his new movie, Wayward Roads. The film is tentatively slated for a fall release.

The movie, about a young woman named Orna who struggles with addiction and recovery, is very timely, as residents continue to witness an unprecedented number of heroin overdoses in Maine and in the rest of the country.

From January through September of 2015, deaths attributable to drug overdoses in Maine stood at 174, according to the Maine Attorney General Janet Mills. In 2014, there were a record 208 overdose deaths, her office reported late last month, and Mills has said 2015 stats, when tallied, could reveal a death toll of 250 from overdoses.

In the movie by Brown, the character of Orna is a heroin addict who has been in recovery three years, but has flashbacks to her days when she was using. The story, written by Brown, is a “juxtaposition” which also tells the story of Orna’s brother, Cillian, played by Brown, who dies of an overdose.

Brown, a 2011 graduate of Casco Bay High School, has always been interested in movies and has worked as a local writer, director, actor and producer since 2009, including working with his brother Ranin Brown in a “creative duo” known as the Brothers Brown. He is a co-founder of Round Bale Pictures, a local production company.

Brown has worked closely with two other local filmmakers, Erin Enberg and Mark Hensley, who have offered tremendous support. Enberg is a co-producer and first assistant director of the new film. Brown said he could not have made the movie without Enberg and Hensley.

Local actors also star in the movie, including Casey Turner as Orna and Matthew Delamater as her boyfriend, August. The crew has managed 10 days of filming, including a pivotal scene at the Maine Irish Heritage Center in which people were asked to participate in a staged NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meeting.

Brown, a Virginia native, worked on his first film in 2010 and said he still relishes his days as a child in which he played around with his brothers using a mini DV camera that their parents gave them. His parents, who are writers, strongly supported and encouraged the boys in their filmmaking endeavors. The Brown family moved from Virginia to Maine eight years ago.

Brown has worked on many short films, including directing 2011’s Speak to Me, which appeared in a collection of locally made short films at the Nickelodeon Cinema in Portland in December 2011. His latest film may be a short or it may be a lot longer, depending on various factors.

Brown, who completed an internship at the Maine Studios in 2010-2011, is enthusiastic about his new movie. The movie has been filmed in Portland, Yarmouth, Auburn and Biddeford. He was insistent that this story be more about the movie than himself. Brown, who moonlights as an employee of Coffee By Design, hopes the film brings even more awareness to the ongoing drug problem in Maine.

For a clip of The Defender, a recent film by the Brothers Brown, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmShQUWP3No&feature=share. The film was made for the 48 Hour Film Project.

For more about the Brothers Brown, visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1qDuGTg1B1Ey4aqYsL2SAg.