Boot camp for troubled adults
Elan operated for nearly forty years in rural Maine until it closed in 2011 because former residents - now adults - waged a campaign to tell their experiences of abuse via social media and anti-Elan websites.They are still seeking justice and considering class action."I think it would be great if the powers that be took a closer look. I'm doing this because it's a story that needs to be told." Elan was founded at a former camp by a psychiatrist, Dr.
"I got thrown into a van and then ended up in Poland Spring like four hours later. I was like, 'I'm not going to do that.' So I went the forceful way." Nilssen said a new set of rules came swiftly at Elan: No talking to anyone unless a third person was standing there listening. Punishment could be facing a wall or corner for months, or being yelled at by dozens of people at once.The tactics were known as "attack therapy." "It should be stressed that everything was managed and run by the kids.It was very 'Lord of the Flies.' We ran the program, we provided the therapy, the staff members were there for a check and balance to make sure nothing was getting too out of hand," Nilssen said.He's a former student who says he's not concerned about whether it will be hard for some people to watch. Nilssen, 28, said that as a student he was helped by the Poland facility's unconventional tactics, but he knows plenty of others weren't. A three-minute trailer for "The Last Stop" released last month features former students sounding wistful, crying or swearing, and flashes a quote from Illinois state officials: "We've never seen anything quite so bizarre and degrading." It ends with archival NBC footage shot in 1979 of a 17-year-old girl in a dunce cap in tears as a counselor bellows at her that if everyone "had their way, they'd cut your throat, put you out of your misery and relieve the human race of having to deal with an ingrate like you." Elan opened in 1970 and shut down in 2011 after declining enrollment and a dogged online campaign to close its doors."To me, this film isn't just for the people that went to the school, but also for the rest of the world who knew nothing about it and the underground industry it was a part of, the troubled teen industry," Nilssen said in a phone interview.