Natalie  Costa

Natalie Costa

Natalie Costa owns the Performer's Academy, a performing arts school in Laguna Woods, CA that has a faculty of film directors, writers, producers and working actors - all from the LA area who come to OC to teach students the art of performing/acting. In May of 2010 I received a frantic call from my daughter screaming that her friend Mark Melkonian was dead. I couldn't believe what I heard and thought perhaps it was a really bad joke. It wasn't. Mark Melkonian was one of the most gifted, talented, well-like, humorous, friendly person I have ever known. Not an enemy in the world and friends for life. He died of an overdose of Opana. I stood in the back of the church - that could easily hold 1,000 - but there were more like 2,000 there. I was slammed in the doorway - with the football team around me. These large guys were beside themselves with grief - and then the worst happened. The Armenian bishop rolled the casket into this tiny lobby - and opened it up. It was the most unbelievable thing I had ever seen. The sheer emotion - was overwhelming. I thought this experience would change lives -- it didn't. Flash forward. I approached Brent Huff about making a movie about this epidemic as the body count of my daughter’s young friends’ rose.