The film shows drug addicts shooting up on camera and talking frankly about their addictions.
"We can't pull any punches," Dunne said of the decision to show drug use and interview people who were high. "The people who had the courage to be in the film do those things, I think it would be doing them a disservice and I think it would be doing a disservice to anyone who's dealt with addiction in their life in any way to kind of sugar-coat this or not show the realities and the rawness of what this looks like.
"We were trying to do something where we showed the face of addiction, the true realities of what it looks like -- and there's a lot of humanity in there."
Before Thursday, Dunne had not spoken to local news media or responded to criticism since his movie premiered. He said that it would make no sense to respond to criticism before people got a chance to see the film.
"Wouldn't you think it would be a little inappropriate for me to go responding to speculation about what my film could be?" Dunne asked. "It's to be expected that there's a shoot-the-messenger type situation, and I've got a thick skin for it. I'm prepared for those things, but I really just hope that the true message of what we're trying to do gets across."
A lot of the criticism has focused on the fact that prescription drug abuse is a problem nationwide and that Dunne focused only on Oceana.
"I would just say I never said it was only them," Dunne said. "You wouldn't believe how many people I'm hearing tell me that this resembles their hometown in California or in Washington state or you name it, you know. It's really resonated with audiences even outside of West Virginia."
Reach David Gutman at david.gut...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5119.