How I Got Over
How I Got Over
How I Got Over
Item#: HIG-1077-DC
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Running Time: 87 minutes
Grades 11- Adult
A film by Nicole Boxer
With Special Features
Closed Captioned • Scene Selection



"Highly recommended. Boxer effectively captures how art can be connected to healing, and how theater gives these women an opportunity to not only be heard but also to see themselves in a new light."
–Video Librarian

Highly recommended. We see the power of creative storytelling to exorcise shame, and we witness the transformative power of art as therapy. Viewers will be left with the conviction of the lasting human connection, restored dignity, and newfound pride the actresses will share long after the Kennedy Center curtains close.”
– Educational Media Reviews Online

“The film moves from scenes of homelessness and tearful counseling sessions, to upbeat rehearsals and preparations for the play, to the women’s excitement and pride on opening night at the Kennedy Center.”
– Washington Post

“Honest, revealing and remarkably moving… Boxer’s careful, non-judgmental treatment of the women and their lives evokes profound empathy. As the group transforms the dark material into the stuff of art—aided by some expert coaching from professional teachers—the film shows how recovery, hard work and some help from others can turn what was a tragedy into an uplifting ode to the persistence of the human spirit.”
– Palm Springs International Film Festival

"Inspiring...proves art can save your life."
– Desert Sun



Best Documentary
Audience Award, Virginia Film Festival

IDA Humanitas Award Nominee

Official Selection
Mill Valley Film Festival
AFI Docs Festival
Austin Film Festival
Woodstock Film Festival
Palm Springs International Film Festival



All prices include DVD with limited Public Performance Rights
• K-12, Public Libraries & Social Workers/Local Agencies: $99
• Colleges, Government, Business: $295
• Colleges, Government, Business (with DSL): $395


Could telling your story save your life?

How I Got Over is an intimate, innovative profile of 15 formerly homeless and incarcerated African-American women that dramatically reveals the social causes of their plight and how their lives were transformed.

The film follows the women for 12 weeks as they craft and rehearse an original play based on their harrowing, true-life stories. None have had any acting experience and are guided by the Theater Lab's "Life Stories" program. Their work together leads to an emotional, one-night only, sold-out performance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

All 15 are from the nation’s capitol, where 21% of women live in poverty. Many seek shelter at N Street Village, a homeless and recovery facility, and the backdrop for the film.

As their stories unfold, we learn that most of them suffered earlier trauma and abuse -- including domestic violence and incest -- that led to their lives of drug abuse and homelessness. Reckoning with their troubled pasts in the play, addiction and homelessness look less like the result of personal choices and more clearly an outcome of the social circumstances they were born into.

How I Got Over begins by tracing how America has declared war on poverty over and over again without much, if any, success. The film ends with the women quite literally stepping out of the darkness and into the spotlight, with an uplifting performance that provides a call to reconsider the root causes of poverty and homelessness, and what might be accomplished if more resources were devoted to recovery support, as well as to the transformative power of theater and the arts.

A variety of short clips that provide more background on the N Street facility and many of the women in the film.

About N Street - Executive Director Schroeder Stribling describes what N Street Village is and the services it provides for homeless and addicted women in Washington, DC.

On Trauma - Stribling talks about how disempowering it is to be traumatized, specifically how it feels for women, and what it means to be empowered.

Channeling Childhood - The women of N Street engage in a creative exercise where each re-enacts early memories from their childhood.

Linda Levels Up - Linda reads a letter she wrote that describes how she is recovering in a drug rehab program and going back to school for her GED, and hears the news that she has reached Level 1 in the N Street Village program.

Shevanda Backstory - Shevanda shares the painful story of her troubled childhood and shows a photo of what she looked like before getting help at N Street.

Tacarra Backstory - Tacarra talks about the crime she was charged with and reveals how going to prison was a “wake-up call” for her, and is in a better place now.

Valerie Backstory - Valerie candidly talks about how she’s recovering at the N Street Village and her current healthy relationship with most of her children.

Rose Backstory - Rose tells an emotional story about her family and addiction, including how an undercover police officer arrested her and her son for selling crack.


RELEASED - Presents the hopeful stories of four parolees who prove that the tide of recidivism can be reversed, if former prisoners are given the support they need to reenter society.