STAMFORD, Conn. -- Jonathan D’Ambrosio could have never imagined, when he was back at Fairfield High School, that he'd be where he is today: The filmmaker behind a new award-winning movie called "The Frogmarch. "
At the time, the Fairfield native was a high school dropout, and later, a drug addict. Sober for over 11 years, he has since moved on to become a published writer who's worked on various projects in Hollywood. He also sometimes lectures teenagers in New York.
This, after earning his GED, attending Norwalk Community College (NCC) and then moving on to Emerson College in Boston where he graduated at the top of his class.
For the last few years, he's dedicated his life to making “The Frogmarch” which he wrote and directed. And yes, it's close to his heart. According to D’Ambrosio, the story explores drug addiction and relationships in a way that has not been seen before.
That said -- it's biographical -- except the parts that aren't.
"It's a very deeply personal film -- some scenes I still have trouble watching," admitted D'Ambrosio. "And making it has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life."
"The Frogmarch" has screened at film festivals across the U.S. and Canada and has won various awards including an Indie Spirit Award from the New Hope Film Festival and Audience Favorite Award from the REEL Recovery Film Festival.
On Thursday, March 30, the film will have its Connecticut premiere at NCC Thursday, March 30 at 6:30 p.m., followed by a Q&A with D’Ambrosio.
The college was an integral part of D'Ambrosio turning his life around and he said he's incredibly honored they invited him to screen the film there.
"This is kind of surreal," he said. "It's been a really great experience traveling around and showing the film to theaters full of strangers, but it's really incredible to be back on my home turf and bringing the film to people I know or a school that means so much to me."
As for what he hopes folks will take away from the movie, D’Ambrosio, who now lives in Stamford, said he hopes it provides new insight into addiction and how emotionally complex it can be.
"I think there is strength to be found in someone else who has felt the things you've felt and gone through the same struggles," he said.
"Anytime someone comes up to me after a screening and comments on how they could relate or that the film 'hit really close to home' for them is the very reason I made the film.
"When that happens, I know I did my job and I know I did it well. But more than anything, I hope people find hope within the story and bring that hope back home with them when they walk out."
Go to www.thefrogmarch.com for more information. The NCC event is free and open to the public.