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Lost in Woonsocket - Award Winning Documentary Film


The Random 1 television show, directed by filmmaker John Chester, ran for ten episodes on the A&E Cable Television Network. In 2005 we set out into a world of cynicism to see if it was true Americans had stopped caring about helping each other. We also had some ideas about how to respond to what we found with what we called... "guerilla philanthropy."  Sometimes the stories that found us turned into something totally unexpected. They tapped into an evolving collective intelligence that we just could not logically explain.  Some people called them miracles as IF some mysterious power was moving through us.


When we asked the many people that helped us give Normand and Mark a second chance why they did it, they said it wasn't that they couldn't see the need of those around them, it was they didn't know where to start helping. The Random 1 concept of guerilla philanthropy made it simple. We told ordinary citizens a story of a person in need.  Given that information people stepped up to help in such creative ways. It was the power of one combined with the wisdom on the crowd.  A sign to us that intelligence was indeed expanding and evolving in 2005.


Mark's and Normans story  (Episode 4 & 10) was one of those unexpected examples of what can happen. Mark was a long suffering alcoholic who had lost everything. He lived in squalor in the woods of Woonsocket, Rhode Island with another man named Normand. We offered Mark a chance to go to long term rehab. We did not have the bandwidth at the time to help Normand. Little did we know the Random 1 angels would not let us get away from Normand that easily.


When Mark’s episode aired in the fourth week of the season it elicited a great outcry of support from the R1 audience. One of the hundreds of E-mails that came in was destined to change our lives. It was from Normand’s son. He said they had not seen their father in 13 years.


That email started Mark, Normand and our R1 crew on a journey which is still unfolding. We went back to Woonsocket and found Normand in the dead of winter in a crack house. What happened to all of us, the crew, Normand, Mark and their families, and the addiction community is the subject of this film. Lost in Woonsocket debuted at the 2007 South by Southwest Film Festival and is still touring the country raising money for addiction and homelessness programs.

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Lost in Woonsocket Trailer

When we finished the R1 season for A&E, we were profoundly changed. The miracle of what was happening to Mark and Normand was continuing long after the Random 1 season was completed. We realized that we had shot behind the scenes footage of us producing the R1 show and the Mark and Normand episodes in particular. We decided to commit the reminder of the production fees from A&E to a documentary film about what happened to all of us on this story. A&E eventually aired it as a follow up to the Random 1 show and it tours the country raising money for programs working with addiction and homelessness issues.

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Super Soul Sunday - Oprah Winfrey

Six years after Random 1 ran on A&E and the Lost in Woonsocket documentary debuted, Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday checked in with Random 1 filmmaker John Chester for an update on Mark and Normand. Everytime Lost in Woonsocket was screened, the audience always asked us what had happened to Mark and Normand. You can watch what John reports here and then take a look at an recent interview with Normand which has more details on his recovery.  

Normand Cartier Interview

When Normand successfully completed his recovery and re-connected  with his family, we would often talk during the early days of showing the film about how close he came to dying in the woods in Woonsocket. This interview gives you a chance to hear this story in Normand’s own words. In all the people Random 1 helped, we always said that if one person’s life was different as a result of us showing up, it would have been worth it. Normand was worth it.

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LinW Lost and Found Logo_0001.jpg

Lost and Found in America is the umbrella organization we formed to tour the Lost in Woonsocket film raising money for programs that addressed addiction and homelessness challenges. We also envisioned other types of media vehicles to promote the latest treatments for these challenging conditions. 

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