Official Selection Slamdance Film Festival
“Powerful…emotionally potent” – Variety
“Both newcomers, the two leads impress, as does veteran actor Albert Insinnia as the center’s psycho director.” – New York Post
“…Mr. Gaglia has produced a work that’s as much an act of emesis as of filmmaking…the rehab drama is here to stay.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
“Not to be missed” – Chicago Sun-Times
“shocking…the film accrues a learned sense of what it feels like to have the very fibers of one’s soul placed under a magnifying glass.” – Slant Magazine
Tony (George Gallagher) and Sofia (Kether Donohue) are two troubled teenage siblings from the Bronx. Out of options, their mother brings them over the GW Bridge to a rehab in Jersey. What is meant to be a 30 day stay turns into a traumatic 2 1/2 years in which Tony and Sofia experience abuse, brainwashing and false imprisonment. The director of the program, Dr. Hiller (Albert Insinnia), leads Tony and Sofia to believe this is the only institution that will keep them sober and if they leave they will die. Instead, the siblings enter into a psychological and physical struggle for their lives!
OVER THE GW is a poignant story based on writer/director Nick Gaglia’s experience in a cult-like rehab. The film exposes the ongoing threat of corrupt rehabilitation centers that prey upon vulnerable teens and their parents.
Nick Gaglia knew he wanted to be a filmmaker since he was 11, when he picked up a camera for the first time and wrote, directed, and acted in his first short film. He was the youngest kid in his theatre group and studied acting at Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan.
His personal life, however, started to deteriorate when he got into drugs at age 13. Subsequently, his mother checked him into an unregulated â€œtough love” drug rehab that would change his life forever. The rehab boasted of being the only place in the world that could keep kids safe and sober, but what really went on behind closed doors was quite the contrary; corporal punishment, humiliation tactics, sleep and food deprivation, false imprisonment, and mind control were daily routines for Gaglia and group members. After enduring the abuse for 2 Â½ years, Gaglia escaped the rehab and went on to study filmmaking at Hunter College.
After honing his skills with several short films, Gaglia made his first narrative feature, Over the GW, based on his unique experience in rehab. GW premiered at the 2007 Slamdance Film Festival, where it was the first “under the radar” feature in the festival’s 13-year history to get a distribution deal after its first screening.