CURA, an in-progress feature length documentary, is an evocative soul portrait of a mother and her son healing generations of family trauma with natural and alternative medicine. Help support the completion of this film through their Kickstarter page.
Cura is a feature length documentary in progress that tells the story of Yolanda and Donny, a mother and son who break cycles of addiction and violence in the face of impossible odds. At a time when lawmakers leave no choice for impoverished Americans but to crowdfund their own surgeries, Yolanda and Donny’s story of taking their mental healthcare into their own hands is more critical than ever. Their story illuminates both the spiritual and communal aspects of healing from trauma, as well as the stark socioeconomic realities that often prevent it for many marginalized people.
The film is a passion project of director Ethan Goldwater that — over the past two and a half years — has amassed a team of dedicated and influential individuals from the worlds of healing, public policy, and film. The story begins in the shadow of the structural injustice and violence at the heart of American inequality. Yolanda and her sons all grew up in southern California’s Inland Empire, amidst fear of family violence, the spectre of raids by law enforcement, and constant financial instability. Growing up with parents who used and sold heroin throughout her childhood, Yolanda herself developed a regular meth habit at age 16. Years later, her sons began using meth at younger ages than she did.
Over a decade ago, Yolanda moved to the California Bay Area to get away from her toxic environment. When her sons joined her there, they had both already been in and out of juvenile detention and prison, struggling to navigate a world that criminalizes trauma and many of the mechanisms people use to cope with it.
We began filming Cura soon after Yolanda’s younger son Johnny died from a preventable meth overdose in an Oakland jail in 2015. In Cura, she strives to save her surviving son Donny, who also struggles with addiction, depression, and PTSD.
However, our film is about more than oppression and struggle – it is a story of healing and reclamation. Cura follows Yolanda and Donny as they utilize ancient, innovative, and visionary medicine to heal the trauma and break out of cycles of addiction and violence that have plagued their family and community for generations.