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CRAZYWISE, directed by Phil Borges and Kevin Tomlinson, is a feature documentary exploring alternative treatments for mental illness.
CRAZYWISE, directed by Phil Borges and Kevin Tomlinson, is a feature documentary exploring alternative approaches towards mental health.
CRAZYWISE, directed by Phil Borges and Kevin Tomlinson, is a feature documentary exploring alternative approaches towards mental health.
623 backers pledged $87,001 to help bring this project to life.

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CRAZYWISE: Rethinking Madness — A Documentary Film

$87,001

623

From the entire CRAZYWISE team, thank you to every person who helped us get the word out about the film, wrote to us to share their personal story or made a pledge during our campaign. It is because of you that CRAZYWISE will be completed!

About the Film:

CRAZYWISE centers around Adam, 29, a former wakeboard champion who struggles with his sanity following a psychotic break. Desperate and feeling shame from being labeled with a potential lifelong disease, Adam embraces meditation. Later, after revealing his mental diagnosis, Adam is turned away from future meditation retreats. He becomes homeless, alienated from his family and is living alone out of a friend’s car.

A 20-year fascination with shamanism leads photographer and filmmaker Phil Borges to question how Western culture defines and treats severe mental disorders. While documenting Adam’s story, Phil becomes increasingly aware of the severity of the mental health crisis in America. He discovers an emerging, survivor-led movement supported by a passionate group of renowned mental health professionals, activists and scholars who are advocating for alternatives to the biomedical based standards by which most mental illness is currently defined and treated.

Why Crazywise? Why Now?

Most of us know someone affected by mental illness, whether through a family member, friend or our own personal experience. According to The National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 Americans will suffer from a mental health crisis in their lifetime. Most will occur before the age of 24.

It’s no secret that the vast majority of these friends, neighbors and relatives will never find effective, lasting treatment. It’s a sobering fact that more than half of U.S. prisoners and a quarter of America’s homeless suffer from mental health issues.

To counter this trend, survivor-led activists and advocates are emerging to challenge the current system. These movements include successful treatment approaches like Open Dialogue in Northern Finland. In addition to Open Dialogue, the film explores new organizations and programs including: Peer-to Peer counseling, the National Empowerment Center, Stand Up for Mental Health, the Hearing Voices Network, Patients Like Me and Mad Pride. These programs emphasize hope for recovery, acceptance, mentorship and relationships.

It struck Phil that this was the same model of mentor-based relationships he’d witnessed and photographed in Africa, Asia and South America among indigenous cultures. He found some of these insights buried deep in the timeless shamanic traditions of remote indigenous cultures around the world.

Few people are aware that alternative treatments exist due to a lack of mainstream media coverage. This film will present successful options that show how the mentally ill can recover without lifelong medication and stigmatization.

Creative Approach and Style:

CRAZYWISE depicts the stigmatized and often frightening world of mainstream mental health treatment and the ongoing search for recovery. The goal of the film is to inspire greater understanding about the severity of our current mental health crisis, spark conversation about solutions and re-examine how Western society defines and treats severe mental distress.

As the film progresses, tension grows between Adam and director Phil Borges, who is torn between his desire to help stop Adam’s suffering and his responsibility to maintain his professional role as observer and storyteller.

CRAZYWISE is a PBS style, social issue documentary that combines emotional and personal narratives with community-based treatment alternatives for mental health.

Where Are We Now?

CRAZYWISE is 80% shot, including more than 35 interviews with respected psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians, neurologists, journalists and anthropologists plus 50 hours of Adam's story.

This summer, with your generous support, we’ll be able to finish production by documenting the survivor-run programs in the U.S., Europe and New Zealand that are using successful, innovative, community-based treatment approaches.

Your contribution will also allow us to begin editing by October 2014 with the premiere of CRAZYWISE planned for spring of 2015.

Help support the creation of this important story! A story about a filmmaker looking for answers for a young man’s painful journey that brings a global perspective to our understanding of mental health.

Where Does the Money Go?

Thank you for helping us tell this important story! We could not produce this film without your generous support, and we greatly appreciate each and every one of our Kickstarter Backers. 

Rewards:

Filmmakers:

Director: Phil Borges, Social Documentary Photographer and Filmmaker

For more than 25 years, Phil has been documenting indigenous and tribal cultures, striving to create an understanding of the challenges they face. His work is exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, and his award winning books have been published in four languages.

Phil has hosted television documentaries on indigenous cultures for Discovery and National Geographic. As an experienced lecturer, he has spoken at multiple TED talks, including TED in 2007, TEDxRainier in 2012 and TEDxUMKC in 2013. Phil directed 13 short documentaries between 2004-2012 focusing on gender issues around the world for UN Women, CARE, ReSurge, joinFITE, Foundation for Women and One Heart.

Director: Kevin Tomlinson, Producer, Director and Cinematographer

Kevin has earned numerous Emmys and Telly Awards for his network news camerawork with NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS and Discovery. He has worked with clients ranging from Microsoft, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford, Cineplex Odeon to Nickelodeon and the Nationally broadcast PBS series, "Travels in Europe" with Rick Steves. Kevin directed and co-produced the award-winning feature documentary “Back to the Garden,” which premiered at SIFF (2009) and played at more 30 international film festivals, airing both locally and nationally on PBS.

Producers: Julee Geier, Judy Kaplan and Debra Thompson Harvey
Associate Producer: Sandy Jeglum
Publicity: Adam Brown
Trailer Editors: Jason Reid and Darren Lund

How Does Kickstarter Work?

Kickstarter is all or nothing. You are only charged when we reach our goal. If we don’t reach our goal you will not be charged and we won’t receive any of the funds pledged.

Risks and challenges

Getting to know Adam, we've seen how challenging it is for him to find the professional help he needs. Adam’s struggle reveals a current system both unprepared and unsuitable.

As we’ve gotten to know Adam, his health has become our constant concern. We often feel compelled to intervene and find him some kind of effective help. But we know this could change his story completely and unpredictably, and it may be seen as overstepping our role as objective filmmakers. Most importantly, we struggle with how to protect him from being hurt in the process of making his extremely personal story a public one.

As social documentary filmmakers, we attempt to remain objective. But we continually feel the responsibility of telling Adam’s story. We are moved by his courage, compassion and his trust in our intentions.

Our hope in making this film is that Adam and others like him will find strength and inspiration to change their lives through this story and the alternatives we present.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Welcome, friend! A heartfelt thanks to you from our team. You will receive email updates about the project including announcements and bonus content.

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    Assuming you are not an introvert, we will be giving you a public shout out of thanks on social media. Plus email updates.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Such a deal! We'll send you an HD digital download of the movie when it is completed. You will also be included in the special thanks page of the Crazywise website and receive email updates on our progress.

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    It’s getting real now! You will receive a DVD of the film signed by the directors when it releases to the public. Plus all of the above!

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Our enduring appreciation and the signed book ENDURING SPIRIT by Phil Borges is yours at this level. Plus all of the above.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Who doesn't like to see their name on the big screen? Not only will we include your name in the credits of the film as a Supporter, we'll give you two tickets for an exclusive screening in Seattle so you can see it. Oh yes, and all of the above.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Hearing voices? It’s the directors of Crazywise calling to thank you personally for your contribution. Just in case that’s not enough, we will include a Tibetan Portrait poster and all of the above.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Feel like you are spacing out? Nah! You are floating! Float Seattle (floatseattle.com) has generously supported us with their donation of an Introductory Float Pack that includes 3 floats. Float tank therapy can help one achieve new levels of consciousness. It’s yours! Plus you will receive a DVD, a HD digital download of the movie, be included in the special thanks page of the Crazywise website, and we will keep you updated on our progress.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    How far will you go? Float Seattle (floatseattle.com) offers an exclusive, members only experience for a guided shamanistic float tank session with live music. You are in! Plus you will receive a DVD, an HD digital download of the movie, be included in the special thanks page of the Crazywise website and email updates on our progress.

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    Are you dreaming? No it’s ANCESTRAL DREAMS, a 24x36” signed and authenticated, limited edition giclee print by fine artist (and our own Crazywise producer!) Judy Kaplan. Plus you will receive a DVD and HD digital download of the movie, be included in the special thanks page of the Crazywise website, email updates on our progress and credit in the film as a supporter.

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    Pledge $450 or more About $450

    It’s not a hallucination. YAMA is yours! Four of Phil Borges’ most popular images are available at this price and size exclusive for this campaign. 13”x13” Signed Fine Art Print. Photographed in Tibet in 1994. Plus you will receive a DVD and HD digital download of the movie, be included in the special thanks page of the Crazywise website, email updates on our progress and credit in the film as a supporter.

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    Pledge $450 or more About $450

    This is wild – or at least their hair is wild. Phil Borges’ image of JIGME AND SONAM. Photographed in Tibet in 1994. 13”x13” Signed Fine Art Print. Plus you will receive a DVD and HD digital download of the movie, be included in the special thanks page of the Crazywise website, email updates on our progress and credit in the film as a supporter.

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    Pledge $550 or more About $550

    Shaman extraordinaire! SUKULEN was photographed in Northern Kenya in 1997. 26”x11” Signed Fine Art Print. Plus you will receive a DVD and HD digital download of the movie, be included in the special thanks page of the Crazywise website, email updates on our progress and credit in the film as a supporter.

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    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    No meditation needed! This triptych of THREE MONKS photographed in Cambodia in 2007 is calming in itself. 26”x11” Signed Fine Art Print. Plus you will receive a DVD and HD digital download of the movie, be included in the special thanks page of the Crazywise website, email updates on our progress and credit in the film as a supporter.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Group therapy? Depends on how you look at it. Join us for a Seattle based workshop “The Documentary Interview” with Crazywise directors Phil Borges and Kevin Tomlinson at the Seattle Film Institute September 6-7, 2014. Starting with choosing and pre-screening the subject, Phil and Kevin will take you through the technical side of the process—choosing the location, camera setups, direct view options, creating different lighting scenarios, capturing great audio and composing compelling and relevant backgrounds. They will then concentrate on the heart of the interview itself—putting the subject at ease, framing the questions, conversation flow, interview etiquette, etc. Each participant will get plenty of hands on experience. (Does not include travel and accommodations.) Plus you will receive a DVD and HD digital download of the movie, be included in the special thanks page of the Crazywise website, email updates on our progress and credit in the film as a supporter.

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    Pledge $850 or more About $850

    More group therapy! Environmental Portraiture and the Personal Project Workshop with Crazywise director Phil Borges, starting at 7 pm the evening of August 8th and going through 6pm on August 10th, 2014 in Seattle at the Phil Borges Studio. Explore the process of building a photographic project from conception to final distribution. Phil will also demonstrate his lighting techniques and how to approach and create rapport with subjects. He will also spend one-on-one time discussing your portfolio and the direction you would like to see your work take. (Does not include travel and accommodations.) Plus you will receive a DVD and HD digital download of the movie, be included in the special thanks page of the Crazywise website, email updates on our progress and credit in the film as a supporter.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Multiple personalities can be a good thing, especially if one of yours is Co-Executive Producer of the Crazywise film! That is what it’ll say when the credits roll. You will also receive two tickets to an exclusive screening in Seattle. Plus you will receive a DVD, HD digital download of the movie, be included in the special thanks page of the Crazywise website and email updates on our progress.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    No delusions of grandeur here. You are, in fact, an Executive Producer of Crazywise! As such, you will receive two tickets to an exclusive screening in Seattle in which you will have reserved seats with the Crazywise team, and join the directors Phil Borges and Kevin Tomlinson for dinner the night before the screening. (Does not include travel and accommodations.) Plus you will receive credit in the film as an Executive Producer, receive a DVD, HD digital download of the movie, be included in the special thanks page of the Crazywise website and email updates on our progress.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    No one will think you are certifiably crazy for making a contribution at this level because you will receive a very rare framed, silver gelatin, selectively toned limited edition print of SUKULEN. This piece is framed out to 38 x 19 inches. Plus you will receive credit in the film as an Executive Producer, receive two tickets to an exclusive screening in Seattle in which you will have reserved seats with the Crazywise team, and join the directors Phil Borges and Kevin Tomlinson for dinner the night before the screening. (Does not include travel and accommodations.), receive a DVD, HD digital download of the movie, be included in the special thanks page of the Crazywise website and email updates on our progress

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Funding period

- (33 days)