RAISED BY WOLVES peers into online youth culture in Appalachia, revealing the risks of exposure to weaponized misinformation and hate in social media and online gaming spaces, while documenting the escalation of violence in America as it unfolds in real time – and close to home. A series of personal stories of affected community members unfolds against the backdrop of an opioid traumatized, post-industrial landscape, as experts unpack the systemic nature of a problem rooted in our times, our tech and our history.

RAISED BY WOLVES is anchored by the filmmakers’ personal narrative – as journalists, part of an Appalachian Muslim family and parents to five children, four of whom are boys. The story is also rooted in the filmmaker’s past, growing up in poverty in the Ozarks, now investigating susceptibility to domestic violent extremism through the lens of rural shame.

Raised By Wolves is produced in association with Justfilms, the Center for Independent Documentary and Democracy Fund.

Center for Independent Documentary


As our nation grapples with a resurgent era of coordinated political violence and waves of mass shootings committed by young men citing hate-filled, meme-laden manifestos, we propose a path forward using documentary storytelling as an entry point to the difficult conversations we must have about a crisis engulfing our country.

Our social impact strategy includes screening events, facilitated community conversations, focus groups and interdisciplinary workgroups in Appalachia and rural communities nationwide. These events address the platforms and processes of manipulation, as well as conditions of susceptibility, with the goal of supporting more informed, resilient communities.

Conventional narratives on countering violent extremism have focused on individual pathology rather than the systemic and economic dimensions of alienation from one another. This work addresses the shared trauma of economic and social displacement, emphasizes empathy across race, class, religious and gender lines, and nurtures social cohesion within our manipulated and divided communities. We use a moral injury framework to assess online harms to young people and work with our community members to co-create an in-depth, trauma-informed toolkit that parents, educators, coaches, faith leaders, clinicians, and other practitioners can use nationwide to reconnect with a generation at risk.


We have hosted small community screenings in communities from West Virginia and Idaho to Atlanta and Minneapolis, including faith-based settings. If you are interested in hosting a screening and conversation event in your community, please reach out below.

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