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Detroit Lakes woman stars in film bringing awareness to drug addiction during pandemic

Published: Apr. 11, 2021 at 7:13 PM CDT
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DETROIT LAKES, Minn. (Valley News Live) -During the early stages of the pandemic, opioid overdoses increased by nearly 40%, and according to the CDC, that number continues to climb.

Now a Detroit Lakes woman is using her creativity to fight back. She’s starring in a film that aims to bring awareness to drug addiction.

When Melissa Paakh set off to chase her dreams of becoming an actress in the big city, she never imagined something so meaningful would be right around the corner.

“When the project is bigger than yourself, it becomes really special,” Paakh says.

Paakh got a call from Director Tamir Khalil who set out to create a short film that dives into the realities of addiction--something that hits close to home.

“In about four months, I had three different friends pass away from an overdose,” Kahlil says. “I felt like I was in a place where everything was falling apart. Through that, I began to write.”

A story based on true events--”Beauty of Warmth” was born. What starts as a love story deepens to reveal the hardships of opioid abuse. A message Kahlil and Paakh say is too powerful not to share.

“My cousin passed away six years ago of opioid overdose,” Paakh says. “His mom made wristbands for everyone that said, action for positive change saves lives. That’s what making this film is to me.”

“It’s in our moms, it’s in our dads, it’s in our best friends, it’s in our bosses and our coworkers, it’s right next door,” Kahlil says. “We have to shed light on it. We have to realize people are suffering from such a disease they can’t help themselves with.”

“Beauty of Warmth” is slated to appear in several film festivals. The two are eagerly waiting. They hope to catch as many eyes as possible during this trying time, to let others know they aren’t alone.

“If they can’t see it through the lens of addiction, hopefully, they can see it through the lens of love,” Paakh says. “We can get swept off our feet by love, just like we can get swept off our feet by addiction.”

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