Sunday, March 15, 2015

Mark Wahlberg's Brother Takes Aim at Youth Prescription Drug Abuse

Early last month, actor-director Michael Yebba shared a picture via Instagram with the caption: “Let the editing begin!”

He is referring to the drama short If Only, which wrapped production in Massachusetts in late January. Yebba is partnered with several members of the Mark Wahlberg family clan on this one: Mark's brother James is co-producer and co-writer (with Yebba); another brother, Robert, appears in the film. And James Wahlberg's son Jeffrey is also in the movie, intended to have a running time of between 30 and 40 minutes.

The plotline of If Only, about two teenagers who become addicted to prescription drugs, supported by a parallel Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation co-sponsored campaign Drop Them Off, is intended by Yebba, James Wahlberg and co. to focus attention on a serious problem. From a recent article in the Lowell Sun:

Wahlberg said he chose Tewksbury, MA as a filming location in part because of the devastating impact that opiate abuse has had in this area. "The numbers are just staggering, and I don't know where the outrage is," Wahlberg said. "We're losing a whole generation of kids and I don't hear the outrage. I don't see it."
The film's connection to Tewksbury has another element - Tewksbury resident, and owner of the Tewksbury Country Club, Marc Ginsburg, is a producer on the film. He's known Wahlberg for years through charity events for the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation that the country club has hosted.

The long-range plan for If Only is to screen the film at schools and community organizations. One of the underlying messages for parents is how important it is for them to dispose of left-over prescription drugs. For many teens, the sad starting point tracks back to the family medicine cabinet.

The final shooting day of If Only involved what will be the closing credits shot. The filmmakers invited Massachusetts parents with sons or daughters battling (or who have battled) this issue to fill a church and hold pictures of their loved ones.

[If Only Facebook page]

[Image via:]

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