Sister Helen Directed by Rebecca Cammisa & Rob Fruchtman, 2002
Funny, shrewd, and surprisingly forceful" - Entertainment Weekly
One of the most unanimously acclaimed documentaries in recent years and winner of the coveted Sundance Film Festival Directing Award, this emotionally compelling film is an inspirational and uplifting portrait of a truly colorful and most unusual New York character. Brash, foul-mouthed, and no-nonsense, Sister Helen Travis is not your typical saintly soul. A recovering alcoholic who lost her husband and sons to substance abuse, she single-handedly fights her own war on drugs as director of a halfway house for recovering addicts in NYC’s South Bronx.
Filmmakers Rob Fruchtman and Rebecca Cammisa put their fly-on-the-wall, cinema verite technique to expert use as they vividly capture the complex love/hate relationship between this tough-as-nails nun and the men who both fear her and rely on her to help them battle their own inner demons.Inspired by Sinatra’s “my-way-or-the-highway” mantra, Sister Helen runs a tight ship in which everyone must obey her rules and the hand that writes them. For the residents who wish to permanently kick the habit, this sobering dose of tough love may be their last and only hope.
Filmmaker Commentary; Sundance Channel Interview; Additional Interviews; "Where Are They Now" Updates; Resource Guide to Sister Helen's Center; Filmmaker Biographies; Scene Selection; Interactive Menus