Friday, September 17, 2010

"Unlisted: A Story of Schizophrenia"

Sponsored by NAMI Durham   Free to the public
October 13th at 7:30 pm
Cinema One
309 W Morgan St., Durham

Director Statement...

For years I felt conflicted about having disconnected from my father. I told myself that
without my contact information my dad would no longer be tempted to come searching
for me in a psychotic state, and I could avoid the pain of not being able to get him help.
Five years ago I decided to stop hiding. Part of the catalyst for this decision was my
growing need to tell my story; a story that while unique in its details is universal in its
Severe mental illness tears families apart, but not for the reasons that make tabloid
headlines. Yes, the symptoms of these illnesses can be devastating, but what really tears
families apart is their inability to get treatment for their family member. The frustrations
and heartache that comes from not being able to get care causes thousands of family
members to disconnect. Over the years, the films I have seen about mental illness, have
portrayed devoted caretakers, but I had a need to expose the other side of the story,
family members who are themselves deeply conflicted by the realities of deciding not to
care for an ill family member.
Not only was I propelled to give a new voice to family, but also to give a more typical
picture of someone suffering from severe mental illness. The stories we hear in the media
focus on a few famous individuals (Van Gogh or John Nash, for example) or a few
notorious ones (the rare, but terrifying person shooting at strangers). My dad, on the
other hand, represents the more common face of mental illness; a regular guy who
wanted a career and a family, but was constantly stymied by his disordered thought
With Unlisted I wanted to give viewers a background on why getting mental health
treatment is so difficult. My hope is that this knowledge will not only help viewers
understand why so many people sit untreated on our streets, but why things do not have
to stay this way. I hope that viewers will have a foundation from which to take action; be
it simply taking a moment to validate the existence of someone living on the streets or
working to create a more functional and compassionate mental health system.
Finally, my hope is that after seeing Unlisted viewers will be more motivated to discuss
mental illness, for if it is not present in their own family, it certainly is present in a family
of someone they know. Greater than any statistic, what most reminds us of the
prevalence of mental illness, and the obstacles to treating it, are these conversations.

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