At a glance:
* The 'Oxyana' trailer is viewable at: http://vimeo.com/m/64510723* The film is available at oxyana.com starting Monday. Digital rentals cost $3.99, digital downloads are $9.99. DVDs cost $20, while a Blu-Ray disc costs $25.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- "Oxyana" is not a story of fact or fiction.
In a telephone interview Thursday, Director Sean Dunne said viewers shouldn't take the word of the controversial film's subjects as gospel.
Dunne said the film, which examines drug addiction in Wyoming County and is scheduled for online release Monday, is all about perspective. He said it's meant to be "more immersive than informational."
"Oxyana is a place that might exist within the borders of Wyoming County, but it's a place that doesn't need to always exist. It's kind of a temporary, fleeting thing," Dunne said.
"Oceana is a town of really hardworking people. This wasn't a film to hurt those people in any way or to throw those people under the bus. This is a film about drug addiction."
The film made it into New York City's Tribeca Film Festival. The Wall Street Journal highlighted its "raw honesty," and Tribeca judges honored Dunne with the festival's best new documentary director award.
Dunne said he first made his way to Oceana on a trip from Virginia to Nashville. He said friends had recommended it as a nice place to stop. Within minutes of his arrival, he met one of the film's central characters, Jason.
Jason happened to be a self-professed "Juggalo" — that's what rabid fans of the rap group Insane Clown Posse call themselves. Dunne is well known for his short film "American Juggalo" about such fans. The two began to talk. Within 20 minutes, Dunne said he watched Jason inject drugs into his hand.
Dunne and his film crew spent time during the spring and summer of 2012 in an 11-mile stretch of the county. They stayed above a Pineville pharmacy. Ironically, that's where a woman held an employee hostage on Wednesday in hopes of getting drugs.
Dunne said the crew spoke with a "pretty good cross section of the community down there."
There is no discernable storyline in the 78-minute film. Broken into intense snippets, viewers see unidentified people who talk about their relationships with prescription pills. The tales are horrible and emotional.
A woman talks about caring more for her next high than her children. A man who says he has cancer and an addiction problem promises he once begged his wife not to get involved with drugs as he is seen injecting something into her hand.
"Believe it or not, a lot of them, especially ones in particularly bad shape, they found it therapeutic," Dunne said.
Dunne uses interviews with 20 people to carry the film and said he talked with at least a dozen more. Half appear to be under the influence during their interviews.
Dunne said he never paid anyone to appear in the film. Allowing high subjects to give their opinions on film didn't bother him. He said it was necessary and he didn't pull any punches in his characterizations of the community's problem.
People living with addiction have a no-consequences lifestyle, he said. Michael Moore, a dentist in town and one of the few sober subjects in the film, describes the concept as "Appalachian fatalism."
Sitting in his office, Moore talks about outsiders taking advantage of the area's natural resources and its people for generations.
"They've been taken advantage of over and over again, to the point where one, they trust almost no one from outside, and number two, they have a very fatalistic look," Moore said.
As Monday marks the first widespread distribution of the film, most Oceana residents haven't seen it. They've seen the trailer and found parts of it offensive.
In the trailer, a man says he is 23 years old and half of his high school graduating class is dead. In the film, similar statistics are thrown around willy-nilly: a woman says about 75 percent of people her age are either homeless or live with their parents.