(CNN)Demi Lovato wastes no time getting to the details of her 2018 overdose in her new docuseries, “Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil.”
Directed by Michael D. Ratner, the four-part series covers the months leading to her near fateful night, her overdose and what transpired after. Lovato opens up about her addictions to cocaine, alcohol and Xanax, and her struggles with exhaustion, mental illness and an eating disorder.
In an interview with CNN, Ratner said when he and Lovato began discussing her experiences, “she was ready” to come forward with what actually happened after months of misleading headlines and misinformation in the news.
“When you’re at Demi Lovato’s level, you’re not going and responding to these false headlines. And I think that that was very difficult then, but she didn’t respond to any of them,” Ratner said, adding, “There was a lot of misinformation out there, and this was her opportunity in her own words with her family, friends, and those that lived it to tell the truth.”
Ratner, who had previously collaborated with Lovato on a music video, and directed Justin Bieber’s “Seasons” through his company OBB Pictures, said he gained Lovato’s trust by listening.
“Once you have a clear understanding of their goals and just how important ultimately telling the story is for her ultimate growth, we began filming,” Ratner explained.
Just a few weeks in, the pandemic hit. But Ratner said both he and Lovato felt a sense of purpose in shining a light on mental health issues.
“I think a key takeaway in this film is really just it’s okay not to be okay and seek help if you can. And not everybody is going to have a paid team of support, but you don’t necessarily need that,” he said. “You need somebody that you go to for comfort and have people you trust that have your best interests. Outside of provoking a dialogue on these things and taking some of the stigma out of it, our hope is that people don’t just live with these thoughts in their head in isolation, and instead realize that it’s totally fine to speak about it and they should.”
He said filming during the pandemic helped shaped the series to “speak to the times.”
“Some of the charm of documentary filmmaking is the spontaneity. You know, you find out something’s happening, you pick up a camera and you go,” he said. “Everything had to be really planned out, strict testing protocols, health and safety measures, that was paramount. It was much more plotted. And I think you do see that in the filmmaking.”
Lovato and her loved ones who participated in the series describe their struggles, their heartache, and, ultimately, hope.
“This is a human documentary, not a music documentary,” Ratner said. “She’s human and she’s not claiming to be anything that she isn’t.”
“She very openly says, ‘this is where I’m at today. I’m working on myself everyday. I’m imperfect, I’m doing my best. I am facing my struggles and my demons,'” Ratner continued. “You know, she’s a human being. And I think that the goal, again, what she’s preaching, is that everybody’s journey is unique.”