Clean Slate | A Conversation with the Filmmaker Jared Callahan

When it comes to creating a compelling documentary, the process surprisingly often starts with putting the camera down. As Host John Sheldon’s guest on this episode of Beyond Belief Sobriety explains, establishing a relational trust element is essential to capturing those intimate moments that make us forget we’re watching a film. In his absorbing new project, set in a real-world rehab facility, Director Jared Callahan integrates us into the minute-to-minute struggle that is addiction, changing and re-shaping our understanding of it as a disease.  “Clean Slate,” a release from People People Media, tells the raw and very personal story of two roommates who hatch a plan to make a short film about their recovery journey – while still on their recovery journey.

By putting a vulnerable and unflinching lens on addiction, Jared and his team personalize its grip on sufferers and their families. The hope, says the director, is to cultivate new levels of empathy and broader awareness. “I could have used more statistics or graphs, but for this film the best way was just to say these are the guys and this is the reality at this time,” says Jared, who is also a pastor. “These are people who are your family and neighbors.” The film-within-a-film narrative opens a unique window onto recovery, highlighting the healing power of creativity, even in the face of relapse and isolation. You’ll come away from this conversation eager to watch “Clean Slate” (available on these streaming platforms) and share it with others. Community, says the director, is what knits together hope and progress along the lifelong journey that is recovery. It’s all about building trust and accountability, capturing the beauty of returning to things we have loved and lost along the way. “People who work in recovery circles laugh really hard and cry really hard,” says Jared, “and in that they are not pretending to be perfect. They are just very real.”

“Clean Slate” is available now across all streaming media platforms, including at Amazon Prime, Apple TV and on YouTube.


00:00 Introduction
01:43 How Jared got the idea for this film
03:29 Challenge of filming the making of a movie
04:29 Responsibility of a documentary filmmaker
05:51 Cassidy’s passion for filmmaking
07:51 Josh’s background with filmmaking
08:27 Filming Cassidy after his relapse
09:18 Cassidy and Josh’s film “On the Fence”
09:57 What Jared hopes people get from the film
11:18 Cassidy uses creativity to come back from relapse
12:00 Cassidy using creativity to bring him back
12:38 Putting the camera down to build trust
13:48 Keeping focus of film on the personal stories
16:05 Early feedback on the film
18:20 Difficulty treating mental illness and addiction
21:44 Jared’s style of filmmaking
22:14 Jared creating a recovery podcast
26:39 How to access the film
27:17 How Jared became interested in film
27:55 Jared’s production Company People People Media
29:13 Jared’s wish for those who watch the film


Clean Slate Official Documentary Trailer:
People People Media Foundation:
Clean Slate Film Website:
Jared’s website:

About Our Guest

Jared is a national Emmy-nominated filmmaker whose work has been released through PBS, The New York Times, GQ, The Atlantic, Sundance, Tribeca and 250+ film festivals worldwide. His NYT Op-Doc, “Saltwater Baptism,” was nominated alongside Lady Gaga for a 2018 Webby Award. Jared also founded People People Media, a boutique production and collaboration space for artists working in a variety of media.

FOLLOW Jared and People People Media

Website | Instagram | Trailer | LinkedIn

Show Notes Written by knwhelmick at Fiverr