A documentary based on the book MAD IN AMERICA about the historical treatment of the mentally ill and the present day status of care.
In order to create "paradigm shift" change, we need to take action! We need you to take action! What better way than to create a watershed film targeted at mass audiences that is free from corporate interests!
That's why it's so important for you, people who either have a mental illness or are involved in the community helping those that do, to back this project. A project not connected to the medical establishment or the drug companies that aims to improve patient's knowledge and awareness and ultimately, protect their rights through grass roots advocacy.
The story begins with a question, why are the mentally ill in this country worse off, in terms of statistical outcomes, than the mentally ill in other, poorer, nations. We then trace the origins of society's treatment of the mentally ill, beginning in the bucolic setting of rural Pennsylvania with the humane treatment practiced by the Quakers, visit the Bedlam asylum in England and learn the story of Sir Francis Galton, cousin of Charles Darwin, who coined the term eugenics and wrote the influential "Hereditary Genius".
We show the darker eras, 1900-1950, and portray the rise of the eugenics movement, once popular in the U.S., resulting in countless voluntary and forced sterilizations which found its ultimate expression in Nazi Germany. In each era we see good, humane caretakers practicing compassionate care and those who use more severe methods, constraints, various devices and techniques designed to damage, shock and scare mental patients back to sanity. From water treatments to removing decaying teeth to "root out" the cause of mental illness, to transorbital lobotomy made famous in the movie "Frances" and performed on a Kennedy. We show the incredible story of King George III, the famous 'Mad King' who was "cured" of his mental illness, as well as the stories of the anonymous victims in various times and places who's stories are equally real and revelatory.
In the beautifully crafted and meticulously researched source material, MAD IN AMERICA, by medical journalist Robert Whitaker, we are taken through the entire story of society's treatment of its insane. From massive, overpopulated institutions which charged the public admission to view patients like a zoo, to small enclaves of successful, humane care practiced by devoted care givers; society's treatment of the mentally ill swings back and forth along the moral spectrum like a pendulum.
Telling the story through the 20/20 prism of history, we find ourselves landing in the current era, dominated by psycho-pharmaceutics. Here we see real people telling real stories, the patients, their loved ones, their doctors, the heartbreaking reality, each story more moving and unique than the next.
Why do the mentally ill fare better in third world countries than our modern western society? How successful are we really in treating our mentally ill? Our children? Our loves ones? Ourselves? Mental illness is one of the most important problems facing society today, it's unbelievable and shameful that more focus isn't drawn to such an important issue. MAD IN AMERICA blows the lid off an industry awash in money and vested interests. If you or a loved one has suffered with a mental illness, you know how important it is to tell this story, now. Please help. Contribute.
And whether you can contribute or not, we know your time is valuable and that you just spent it. So please make the most of it and help us by forwarding a link to this project to anyone you think would find it interesting using your favorite social media site, Facebook, Twitter, etc... We will never make our funding goal without people in our network passing the link on to people in their network. So please help us reach our funding goal and forward the link to people you know!
And stay tuned for production updates and the trailer, coming soon!
HUGE PRODUCTION UPDATE!!!
Street Symphony has agreed to do the music for the film. Go to their Facebook page and like it... We need to spread the word!
The history is mental health in America is a big story, how do you plan to tell it in a two hour movie?
Miraculously, that's what the book does if you time it out, and like the book, the film will focus on particular stories that tell the larger story of how different treatments came into practice and were heralded as "miracle cures" for a while, but were ultimately shown to be ineffective or harmful. What we will focus on is the dominant type of care in each time period, and how the treatments practiced swing back and forth between compassionate "moral care", and the quick fix experimental treatments and devices that came in like fashion, only to be replaced in a few years.
One of my favorite stories takes place in the last century, when an older man in his sixties has a relationship with a teenage girl, and is committed by his family because they think he must be crazy. He is put into a coffin like box by his "doctors" which is plunged into a lake. They wait until the bubbles stop coming out of the box and then pull it out, open it and revive him. The first words out of his mouth are, "You can't drown love!"
There is a lightness to the book that I love! We see real people, lots of wives and mistresses, people of different sexual orientations, minorities, vagrants, even the King of England and a Kennedy, getting swept up into the system and going through all kinds of odd cures akin to torture... It's darkly humorous, shocking and dramatic... So, we'll go out and film these scenes with actors and show the dominant care in each era going from one "miracle cure" to the next, all the while touching base with good, compassionate doctors who listen to their patients and patiently try and help them.
Sir Francis Dalton was one of the first real scientists to study mental illness. He was also, unfortunately, an unabashed elitist; born into great wealth he wanted to best his cousin Charles Darwin, who became famous for his theory of natural selection.
Dalton, who contributed in many useful ways to the scientific cannon by doing things such as inventing statistics, also coined the term eugenics, which became highly influential all over the world... In this country, selective breeding was officially encouraged by state, county fares paraded their best "stock" of human beings, and criminals and the mentally ill were routinely sterilized.
Of course, the science of eugenics was taken to the extreme in Nazi Germany, and the first folks to be rounded up and brought to the concentration camps were Germany's defenseless mentally ill citizens who were seen as a burden and unfit to be part of the "master race"/society.
Eugenics started with Dalton and that's why his story needs to be told in the film.
In a word, yes.
No. This is a complex issue. It would be great if nobody needed psych. medication ever, but they certainly do, at least in this country at this point in our history. It is incredibly difficult and dangerous for someone who has been on psych medication to quit, especially cold turkey. They could die. So the film will not be advocating that approach. Certainly, there is anecdotal evidence of people successfully quitting cold turkey, especially if they are on less severe drugs treatments and not for a long time, but anecdotes are not science.
The complexity of this issue is such that it depends on many factors... How long they have been on the medication? What their symptoms were when they were put on the medication in the first place? Can causes for the psychotic episode be determined and have those causes been addressed? What specific medications have they been on? How long? Are there approaches available for people who want to be drug free?
The issue demands that the medical establishment address treating people who want to not be on medication. And they are... Treatments centers that help people get off their psych. medication have been springing up all over the country to address this problem. Their doctors gather detailed patient histories, know all of the drugs they have been on in their lives and work with the patient and their family to help them reduce or eliminate their psych medication over time.
It can be a long and difficult process for everyone involved, years, not weeks or months, but again... There are doctors who specialize in helping people with mental illness who are on psych medications reduce or eliminate their medication regime. So there is hope. It is certainly better than the alternative; being addicted to the "cure".
Yes. This movie will affiliate with a non-profit organization, definitely. We are looking at several to work with right now, so stayed tuned for the update.
This should assure you and any investors in the film, that all the money raised is going to be used in the most efficient ways possible. Basically, we are going to travel and film interviews and make dramatic reenactments of certain scenes from the book; that's all we need to shoot to make this movie.
Additionally, my lawyer Jonathan Gray, who is very experienced in these matters has advised me to affiliate with a non-profit which will help with additional fund-raising and allow us to use people who we would otherwise not be able to afford, namely himself... and if I can help it, I'm going to go after a big name actor to be the narrator. I'm interested in the likes of Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange, Angelina Jolie, Michael Douglass, etc... Someone who has demonstrated an interest in the subject of mental illness like "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", "Frances" or "Girl Interrupted" which are all movies in which those actors starred. I'm completely open on who to cast as the narrator, but looking for someone amazing! So, please send me your ideas!
The National Institute for Mental Health. Here is a link to their website.
No, not yet. I have negotiated terms with Robert Whitaker's representatives to purchase the option and produce the film. The option is scheduled to be paid on 3/15, the day after the Kickstarter deadline. I need your help if this film is going to be made. It's a worthy project that can help people, so I'm giving it my all here on Kickstarter and through other channels.
pledged of $100,000 goal
Funding Canceled Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on February 6, 2012.
Jan 28, 2012 - Mar 14, 2012
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Your name in the "Special Thanks" of the film's credits and ANYONE wanting to BE IN THE FILM, as an ACTOR (non SAG) or your REAL LIFE STORY, which we may feature in the film, should definitely leave their contact info, especially if you live in the LA area. We will cast the film with as many contributors who live in LA as possible! If you or a loved one has struggled with mental illness, we need stories and want to tell yours! And this is going to be an amazing story, just read the book! The drama of history AND real life stories of today. Please contribute and leave your contact info. We will be in touch! Additionally, we know this is a private issue, your anonymity will be respected. We would still like to hear your story and receive your donations, but it's up to you how you wish to be credited or not. Please forward this link to people you know. We cannot do this without your help.Estimated delivery: Jun 2013
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The above plus a web link to view the final film.Estimated delivery: Jun 2013
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The web link and "Backer" credit.Estimated delivery: Jun 2013
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A DVD package of the final film and the above.Estimated delivery: Jun 2013
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The DVD package will be signed by the director and the film's narrator, plus "Associate Producer" credit.Estimated delivery: Jun 2013
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The signed DVD, a copy of the book MAD IN AMERICA, plus your name will be listed as an "Angel" in the film's credits. Direct communication with the production company about developments, screenings and parties, if you wish, will be sent to your email.Estimated delivery: Jun 2013
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The signed DVD package and book, production updates and an invite to attend a festival or private screening of the film, plus "Co-Producer" credit.Estimated delivery: Jun 2013
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The signed DVD package and book, production updates, invites to screenings, plus "Guardian Angel" credit and a personal phone call from the director to say thank you and discuss the project and your interest in the subject.Estimated delivery: Jun 2013
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All of the above, plus "Arch Angel" credit. For this size reward and any amount above, we are offering contributors the option of listing their love one's name, provided they were victims of, or suffering with, mental illness, on the film's dedication page.Estimated delivery: Jun 2013
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All of the above, plus "Executive Producer" credit and the option to include a photo of your loved one along with their name on the film's dedication page.Estimated delivery: Jun 2013
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For this exceptional contribution you will be rewarded with all of the above, including the signed DVD package and book, invites to screenings, "Arch Angel" AND "Executive Producer" credit, the option to list your loved one on the film's dedication page including a photo and a private meeting with the director where we will discuss your interest in the project, consider casting you in a role and/or telling your story and involve you in the production in any way you wish. Essentially, you design your own reward!Estimated delivery: Jun 2013