Video: This Philly Beauty Salon and Rehab Clinic Helps People Heal—With a Little Magical Realism

A new documentary, "Hollywood Beauty Salon," lets people who struggle with mental illness and addiction tell their own stories in unexpected ways.

“My main goal in sharing my story, and the other stories in the film, is not only to advocate for people in recovery but to give mental health challenges a human face,” says one of the patrons of Hollywood Beauty Salon, who is also a co-collaborator on the documentary film of the same name.

Director Glenn Holsten worked with the patrons and employees of the Hollywood Beauty Salon to film a documentary exploring recovery from mental illness and addiction. The beauty salon is part of the Germantown Recovery Community, a nonprofit that provides mental health services in northwest Philadelphia.

The subjects of the film chose how their stories would be portrayed through reenactment, animation, and fantasy. Drawing on inspiration from magical realism, the filmmakers helped Sanetta tell her story of recovering from hallucination and schizophrenic episodes by creating an animation sequence in which she turns into a butterfly.

Though the filming is complete, Holsten is raising money to complete the final editing of the documentary.