About Of Substance

Why we do what we do the way we do!

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Of Substance.

WHAT WE DO
Of Substance is an innovative nonprofit that creates premium, entertaining short films to overcome the shame, blame, and stigma of addiction for all those touched by substance misuse.

We’re turning immersive cinema – everything from comedies to thrillers – into an approachable tool for behavioral change.

HOW WE DO IT
We facilitate Movie Workshops, using our original films to trigger vulnerability, which then engage our audiences in an Emotional Learning Experience through deeper conversations.

WHERE WE’RE GOING
Immersive curriculums and programs, centered around our films, are being developed to enhance treatment, education, and more!

Our Mission...

To foster vulnerability, combat isolation, and create community by connecting people through the power of story.

A Digital, On-demand, and Immersive Aid

Woman sitting on a sofa

For...

addiction treatment & sustainable recovery.

People holding a camera

From...

prevention to early intervention through long-term recovery.

A man holding a camera

To be used in...

Personal Support. Professional Therapy. Interpersonal Communication. General Education.

Why narrative movies?

By engaging people emotionally, our films entertain and disarm audiences, allowing them to develop empathy toward strangers and their worlds.

Can't make it to a meeting?

Visit Of Substance to watch a quick film to laugh and remind you why you fight the good fight. Then go back to your family or work, easy as that!

Wish your loved ones understood you better?

Share a film with them that you identify with and give them an enjoyable and an engaging way to understand you more deeply.

Is someone you love addicted?

We tell stories from both sides, from those addicted and those who love them. We have films for you to identify with as a person affect by addiction – to help you feel less alone, while also sharing with those addicted in your life, giving them insight into how their struggle affects you! Help us transform people’s lives.

We All Struggle with Something...

And struggle leads to loneliness and isolation.

So we make movies to help people understand one another, connect with others, and feel less alone.

Meet the team

Learn more about our who we are 

Picture of Alex Kaplan

Alex Kaplan

Co-founder & Executive Director

In his early 20’s, Alex started a promising acting career in Manhattan while bartending at night to get by. The unexpected death of his father sent him into a tailspin and he began to numb himself with substances to ease the pain. This turned into a full-blown addiction that lasted almost 4 years. Disconnected, disillusioned, and plummeting ever deeper into crisis, Alex was finally convinced by his closest relationships to leave New York and seek help. Over the past five years, surrounded by the steadfast support of family, friends, and colleagues, Alex had climbed his way out of addiction and into a very successful career as a writer, director, and producer, and is now the Executive Producer of a well-regarded commercial production company on the East Coast. Alex considers himself living proof that with the right kind of support you can get your life back and build it into exactly what you envision. Now he wants to help others do the same.

Brian Gallagher

Co-founder & Board Member

Brian went to rehab on his 18th birthday. His experience there sent him on a life-long quest to understand human struggle as deeply as possible. He went on to study peer-counseling and team building, eventually receiving a Masters degree in Social Work and teaching at Temple University while also running a violence-prevention program for teenage boys in Philadelphia. In 2006, Brian decided he wanted to become an actor and for over a decade he has been acting, writing, directing, and producing full-time. While collaborating with Alex on a short film in 2017, they learned about their shared history with addiction, and soon discovered that a greater purpose was being laid out in front of them – to combine their unique set of skills and hard-won wisdom to help make addicts and their loved ones feel more connected, understood, and supported through the power of film.

Picture of Brian Gallagher

Mark Zuckerbrow

COO & Executive Producer

A passionate filmmaker, having spent the better part of a decade at Pixar Animation Studios, Mark has always believed in the power of film to change the world. In fact, it’s the reason he’s devoted his life to the art. Through sheer luck, Mark met Alex at a moment in time when he was considering leaving entertainment altogether to make more impact personally by going back to school to become a therapist. Mark’s joy of connecting humans has always led the way he works and lives his life, so after hearing about Of Substance and its mission, Mark realized this was everything he’d ever dreamed of being a part of and insisted on joining the team.

Of Substance could not be luckier to have Mark as such an important member of our family!

Board of directors

Victor L. Hailey, PCLC

BOARD PRESIDENT

Chief Inspiration Officer, 
Second Half Consulting, L.L.C.

Brian J. Gallagher

Board Vice President

Co-founder, Of Substance

Alex N. Kaplan

Board SECRETARY

Co-founder, Executive Director, 
& Chief Vision Officer, Of Substance

Kevin J. Cafferky

Board Treasurer

Principal, Magis Consulting Inc.​

Basha A. Silverman

Board Member

Vice President of Strategy & Partnerships, Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies

James C. Berman, M.D.

Board Member

Addiction Medicine Specialist, Fellow of The American Society of Addiction Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System

What our audiences say

5/5
Amazing customer experience all the way through! I've had some bad experiences in the past but this was just great!
Johan Andersson
Designer
5/5
Great service! I was treated in a serious and professional way despite asking a thousand questions. Superb!
Hannah Andersson
Manager
5/5
High quality and friendly encountaring from start to finish. Recommended to everyone who values real quality!
Fredrik Oliver
Support

Awards