Heroine of Hope

About the Film

The opioid crisis in America is expanding at an alarming rate. A recent report from the National Safety Council analyzed the probability of dying from an opioid overdose is 1 in 96 - surpassing that of dying in a motor vehicle crash for the first time. The medical and mental health systems are overwhelmed, and there’s been no clear path developed to stem the rising tides of addiction. However, in southwest Ohio, a woman named Scarlet decided she would devote her life to creating a new path for women in her community.  

Heroine of Hope tells the story of Scarlet Hudson, a woman who left her career to help women in her community caught in the abusive cycle of addiction and sex trafficking. The theme of the film is the power of individual action. With passion and hard work, a person faced with a societal problem that feels unsolvable can indeed transform lives.  

Scarlet has a radical idea; she fills her van with food, water, and medical supplies, and drives straight to the areas most blighted with addiction and sex trafficking. She builds trust, week after week, with the same people. She is their champion, or, in their own words, their “momma.” Heroine of Hope will spotlight Scarlet’s work through the lens of the women she’s helped succeed and the critical services she provides to the growing number of women who need them. 

About the filmmaker(s) 

Katie Prentiss Onsager is a Chicago-based documentary filmmaker and video journalist. As the Executive Producer of Small Forces, she has led the production of more than 30 documentary shorts about grassroots activists and organizations across the country; and abroad in Haiti and Tanzania.  

A believer in the power of community engagement, Katie serves as the board secretary for Parents for Peace and Justice, co-president of the Danny Did Foundation’s Young Professionals Board and founding member of the Chicago Media Project’s associate board.  

Other producing credits include Old St. Patrickʼs: A Renaissance Story (producer, editor), Newton Minow: An American Story (producer, archival researcher). 

Jamie Fleischel has more than 15 years experience in filmmaking and producing award-winning docu-series for television, digital platforms and content partners. A founding partner of Picture Show, a Chicago-based production company, Jamie produces and directs content pieces for a variety of clients including Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, Wahl, The Onion A.V. Club and The Museum of Science and Industry. He began his career as a filmmaker and storyteller the moment he hit the road with a band—following them throughout Europe—and documenting much of the experience with photography and video. The moment he returned from touring, he set about learning how to edit. 

Visit the Filmmakers' Website

About the Presenting Partner

Illinois Public Media is a non-profit public media service of the College of Media at the University of Illinois. Illinois Public Media educates, entertains, inspires and empowers its audiences by airing the best of public television and radio programs, producing local content for broadcast and digital outlets, and working with partners to address community needs and concerns. 

WILL-AM 580 offers a comprehensive alternative to quick-fix news through local and regional coverage, as well as weather and agricultural news and coverage from NPR and the BBC. 

WILL-FM 90.9 offers programming to nourish the spirit and the mind, with classical music, local news and NPR’s news magazines, Morning Edition and All Things Considered. 

WILL-TV blends a core of PBS programming with locally produced documentaries and programs focusing on central Illinois, such as Mid-American Gardener. 

WILL Digital provides livestreaming of the WILL-AM and WILL-FM signals, downloads and archives of news stories, agricultural market reports and podcasts, an education site for parents, teachers and child care providers, and in-depth information about Illinois Public Media’s programs, services and projects. 

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