Women and Meds is a documentary film that explores the options women face when they want to have children, but take psychotropic medication for mental illness. The film follows multiple women who are dealing with this issue.
Other interviewees include doctors, advocates and family members who influence, and are affected by, these decisions. The film focuses on the personal stories of the women, and the many facets, both positive and negative, of making such decisions. It addresses the struggle and emotional turmoil, as well as the hope and perseverance of the featured women, and advocates for their ability to make the best individual and personal choices for themselves and their families.
HOW KICKSTARTER WORKS
Kickstarter is an "all or nothing" fundraising model - if we do not reach our $25,000 goal, we do not get any of the funds (yikes!). Even if you are unable to contribute, we ask that you help us out by spreading the word to friends, family and co-workers, so that we can meet (and hopefully, EXCEED) our goal to make our film!
A PERSONAL NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR
This project is very personal to me. A few years ago, my husband Gary and I decided we wanted to have a child. As someone who has suffered with, and has been medicated for anxiety for over a decade, I had no idea what to do or where to begin. As I started contacting doctors and doing research, I realized that making a film about my experience would be a great way to consolidate the information and help other women. I have been inspired by the number of women, doctors and advocates who have contacted me, thanking me for making the film, and sharing their experiences about a very prominent, but unspoken issue many women face.
WHY WE NEED FUNDING
Filmmaking is a rewarding, yet expensive and time consuming medium. Up until this point, we have been piecing shoots together and using our own personal funds to get the film off the ground. However, we have reached a point where, in order to move forward in a more professional manner and get the film out into the world, we need additional help. This is where you come in. To be honest, $25,000 is only a small fraction of our total budget, but raising this amount (and hopefully, more) will enable us to complete production and begin the post-production process.
Your contribution will go directly towards the following:
Travel to and from shoots
Compensation for crew members
Compensation for an experienced editor to put everything together for us!
WHAT WE'VE ACHIEVED SO FAR
We have been shooting for about a year now, and have some great footage of the following people:
Dina (Director and Subject): Suffers from anxiety and decided to get off medication to conceive. Currently 6 months pregnant.
Kelly (Subject): Experienced suicidal depression during her first pregnancy, now pregnant with second child and exhibiting same symptoms.
Vickie (Subject): History of depression, anxiety and eating disorder. At 7 months pregnant, boyfriend left, and she lost her job and health insurance.
Anonymous (Subject): Bi-polar woman who is exploring her options. Is most likely unable to get off her medication. Wishes to remain anonymous due to her work situation.
Anonymous (Subject): Bi-polar woman who stayed on Lithium during pregnancy and has a healthy 15 year-old son. Wishes to remain anonymous due to stigma.
Dr. Elizabeth Fitelson (Expert): Reproductive Psychiatrist and Director of the Women's Program at Columbia University's Department of Psychiatry.
Dr. Steven Contag (Expert): High-Risk OB-GYN from the Institute for Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, MD.
Mary Guarino (Advocate): Director of "Freedom from Fear" mental health advocacy organization.
WHAT WE PLAN TO DO IN THE FUTURE
We still need to interview the following subjects, which requires funding for travel to longer distance locations:
Kristin Hersh (Subject): Bi-polar, founding member of indie rock band "Throwing Muses", and mother of four. Rhode Island shoot.
A. P. (Subject/Advocate): Son almost died due to improper medicating during pregnancy. Started "Unite for Life" advocacy group. Texas shoot.
S. L. H. (Subject): Bi-polar, does not want to go off meds. Colorado shoot.
B. W. (Subject): Bi-polar. Took Lamictal throughout pregnancy with no complications. Montana shoot.
B. W.'s friend (Subject): Bi-polar and ADD, has bi-polar son. Montana shoot.
I. D. (Subject/Advocate): Got off anti-anxiety medication, currently on Celexa and trying to conceive. Works for "Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance". Missouri shoot.
Dr. Kenneth Jones (Expert): OB-GYN. California shoot.
Dr. Lee Cohen (Expert): Director of Perinatal and Reproductive Psychiatry Clinical Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. Massachusetts shoot.
In addition to these interviews, we need to get our editor started on putting together all of this great footage!
WHY THIS FILM IS IMPORTANT
This film is not only a personal exploration for the Director, but one which addresses a very ubiquitous, yet unspoken issue that many women face, especially in a country where approximately 25% of the population is medicated for some form of mental illness.
We believe very strongly in mental health advocacy, and making this film is one way that we can help others, especially since there is no other film out there like it!
The outpouring of support for the film is an indication that it MUST be made. To quote a few:
"Stigma is so ugly, and it makes us feel worse in our darkest moments. I know a film about this will be so wonderful and helpful"
"I wanted to share with you my similar struggles and let you know how supportive I am of this idea"
"I'm proud and grateful that you are confronting the issue"
"This is definitely an interesting and important topic, and one that many of our constituents are interested in"
"It's an ambitious, worthwhile project"
PROMOTE AND FOLLOW
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Meet our talented and experienced team.
Director, Dina Fiasconaro
Dina has an MFA in filmmaking from Columbia University, and a BS in TV, Radio and Film from Syracuse University. Previously, she was post-production coordinator at the Hallmark Channel, and has shot everything from super-8 music videos for indie rock bands, to high definition commercial projects for Panasonic. Her short films and screenplays have been the recipient of multiple grants and awards, and her films have screened at a variety of festivals nationwide. Dina is currently an Assistant Professor of Film and Video at Stevenson University, near Baltimore, MD. www.fringefilms.net
Producer, Nikki Roberts
Nikki has an MFA in film production from Columbia University. Her short films, "Out of the Darkness" and "Botes al Amanacer" have screened at Cannes, NY International Latino Film Festival, Santa Barbara Film Festival and Los Angeles Downtown Film Festival. She is a co-founder of the NYC film collective, Rocketlight Films. www.rocketlightfilms.com
Director of Photography, Brian Brooks II
Brian is a cinematographer based in Baltimore, MD. He is a member of IATSE Local 487, and spends most of his time working as an electrician on feature/short films, television shows and commercials. His credits include David Fincher's "House of Cards", Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" and Ben Affleck's "Argo". He has a BA in Film and Video from Stevenson University, and will be attending USC's School of Cinematic Arts in Spring, 2014.
Editor, David Grossbach
David is a Baltimore based editor, and has cut various documentaries, including "Cafeteria Man" by Richard Chisholm, "DaVInci and the Code He Lived By" and "Elie Weisel: First Person Singular". Much of his work has been featured on PBS.
Risks and challenges
Documentary films always have an element of unpredictability to them, but that's what makes them interesting and dynamic! Since the film deals with many uncontrollable elements like pregnancy, illness, etc., we do not have a hard and fast end date. As we meet people and discover new facets to the issue, we set out to explore them. Please keep in mind that the film may take a year or more to complete, but that we will be wrapping it up as soon as we have fully explored the issue, so that we can move forward with distribution and outreach.