Documentary Filmmakers Honored at Monday’s Clark Town Council Meeting

Manny Oliveira (center left) and Alejandro "Alex" Gomez (center right) received recognition for donating their time to produce a video for the Clark Police as part of an opioid awareness program. Credits: Elizabeth Clee
Manny Oliveira (far right) and Alejandro "Alex" Gomez (far left) receive recognition from Clark Police Chief Pedro Matos (center right) and Mayor Sal Bonaccorso (center left). Credits: Roman Chiarello
Jose Lanza speaks openly about his son Joseph's addiction in a video which is featured in the training program to be instituted at ALJ in the 2018-2019 school year. Credits: Courtesy of the Clark Police Department

CLARK, NJ – Two documentary filmmakers, Manny Oliveira and Alejandro Gomez, were recently recognized for their contributions to “Not Even Once,” a new drug opioid awareness education program commissioned by the Clark Police Department.

At last Monday’s Town Council Meeting, Clark Police Chief Pedro Matos and Mayor Sal Bonaccorso honored Oliveira’s and Gomez’s contributions to the program, which will be implemented in Arthur L. Johnson High School beginning next fall. “I’m touched that you guys put so much effort into this […] and [that] you donated all of [your time],” said Matos as he presented the pair with a plaque.

Mayor Sal Bonaccorso commended the two filmmakers as well: “[I’d like to] thank Manny and Alex on behalf of myself and on behalf of the township, but more importantly, all the citizens [and] the children of Clark.”

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Oliveira and Gomez filmed and edited a video interview with Jose Lanza, a Clark resident who lost his son, Joseph Lanza, as a result of opioid addiction. In the video, Jose Lanza tells his son’s story with hopes that it will resonate with others who are affected by addiction and its consequences.

Oliveira and Gomez recognize the importance of telling a story like this. Gomez told TAPinto Clark that he and Oliveira had hoped “to be able to help out an individual who sees this video” and may be going through a similar situation.

The film will be used as part of a drug education program to be instituted at Arthur L. Johnson High School in the upcoming school year.   The #NOTEVENONCE opiate drug awareness program began at the Manchester Township Police Department.  The mission of the curriculum is to inform high school students about the hazards of opiates before they enter college or the work force.

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