BrainStorm the Film will transform the landscape around bipolar as we know it. Our goal is to end the stigma, save lives, and maximize health for millions of Americans with brains on the bipolar spectrum – and all those who love them.

BrainStorm the Film is an unprecedented initiative that combines inspiring stories of bipolar survivors, cutting edge science, and breakthrough treatments in one coherent narrative. It tells a story of hope, substance, and beauty. The film will give viewers new knowledge and power to create real change in their lives: from devastation and despair to health and vitality.

The word bipolar conjures up images of wild highs, all-night sprees, and mood crashes. But this manic depressive behavior, also known as Bipolar I, exists only at the extreme end of what we now know as the “bipolar spectrum.” People whose brains fall elsewhere on the bipolar spectrum – Bipolar II and others — experience severe, life threatening depression, but do not exhibit mania.

Yes, there is bipolar without mania. And since most practitioners don’t even know this is possible, misdiagnosis with devastating results is rampant. One out of three people diagnosed as depressed actually have a bipolar brain – and the antidepressant drugs they are prescribed can lead to dangerous and even lethal consequences.

On average it takes over 11 years to correctly diagnosis Bipolar II. In the meantime, these people are suffering. They are our friends and family. They are among the addicted, the incarcerated, the homeless, the suicidal.

Yet it does not have to end this way. As celebrities such as Catherine Zeta Jones and Selena Gomez, as well as heroes like General Gregg Martin, can attest, it is possible to live a successful life with a bipolar diagnosis. BrainStorm the Film will feature inspiring people living with bipolar brains – celebrities, surgeons, military generals, shark-tank millionaires, and more — who are leading rich and fulfilling lives. Their stories provide inspiration and hope while erasing stigma and shame.

Since knowledge is crucial for correct diagnosis, treatment and recovery, BrainStorm the Film will save lives by expanding awareness of the bipolar spectrum.

Director: Brandon Katcher
Writer: Ken Pontac
Executive Producer: Suzanne Atherly 

Out From the Ashes is the harrowing story of Milena, a young woman from Ukraine, who along with her mother and grandmother (and cat), desperately struggle to escape their war-torn home while an army of supporters on the opposite side of the world fight to keep them safe.

Milena survived the destruction of Mariupol, cowering for a month in the basement of a bombed-out building, watching her home and history burn. She managed to contact Ken Pontac, long-time facebook friend and father figure. Their conversations bolstered Milena’s spirits while Ken listened with growing apprehension. With food running low, Milena was “liberated” by Russians and taken at gunpoint to a Russian-controlled refugee camp. While imprisoned she slept on a filthy, freezing floor with her mother, grandmother, and 200 other kidnapped Ukrainians. After being rescued by a sympathetic Russian, Milena and family were released to a small apartment nearby. But she was still a prisoner. With Ken’s help and the heroic efforts of an international team, three generations of the family were extricated from their imprisonment, furtively couch surfing through Russian safe-houses until finally reaching what they believed was freedom in Estonia. A red-tape nightmare forced the family to return to their war-torn home, where they await the international documents that will help them find a life on the other side of the world…if only they’re not recaptured by Russian troops again!

This is not a story about war. This is a story about three generations of women (and a cat) caught in the middle. It’s about finding their way to freedom with the help of a group they’ve never met and the virtual father who just wants his daughter to be safe.

For More Information, Please visit www.outfromtheashes.film

During the mid-20th century International Style and Organic Architecture offered diverging approaches to architecture, ideas about humanity and the world at large. As Organic Architecture came to be misrepresented and diminished it resulted in a loss that extended beyond the creative expression it offered to lasting ramifications for environmental responsibility, cultural legacy, and individuality.

This full length documentary film project reflects on the misunderstood and overlooked history of the Organic Architecture movement coming out of 1950’s Oklahoma by exploring the work of visionary organic architect, thinker and painter Herb Greene.

The documentary film Remembering the Future with Herb Greene is an exploration of a future not chosen and how to reconnect to what is possible.

What’s happened so far:

Phase 1 – California shoot : September 2021

Initial filming began the fall of 2021 in Berkeley, CA as Herb Greene and historian Alan Hess poured over Greene’s architecture drawings discussing Greene’s recollections on the ideas and history behind his iconic works at Greene’s studio.

 

Alan and Herb continued their conversation in Big Sur, California where Greene and Hess visited the work of organic architect and Herb Greene student Mickey Muennig to explore the organic architecture and surrounding nature of the Post Ranch Inn as well as Muennig’s home on Partington Ridge.

 

Finishing the 3 day shoot was a visit with renowned ceramic artist John Toki’s studio in Richmond, CA where Greene and Toki looked at their past collaborations and envisioned how public spaces using organic and collage thinking could be realized today.

 

Phase 1- Oklahoma shoot : October 2021

A collaboration with the Norman Arts Council and funded by the Kirkpatrick foundation Herb Greene is filmed returning to Norman, OK for his first major solo exhibition of paintings and visited three of his most well-known and iconic buildings.

 

Greene reflects on his time in Oklahoma 70 years ago while remembering what these buildings meant and how it feels to experience them now in their distressed state.

 

Architect Stephanie Pilat & art historian Francesca Gianni were interviewed to share their knowledge of the context and relevance of Greene’s work.

 

Phase 1 – California shoot round 2 : July 2022

Herb Greene is filmed with great niece and architect Lila Cohen as he shares the values he’s carried throughout his life and what matters to him most as he narrows in on turning 93. Greene expresses his hopes as he remembers the 9 decades of his life.

 

An interview with Cohen provides her personal views and perspective of her uncle’s legacy that she’s become dedicated to preserving and sharing.

Phase 1 – goals accomplished:

What’s next:

$85,000 needs to be raised to generate a promotion and fundraising campaign and complete Phase 2

Phase 2 – some next steps highlights

$87,000 needs to be raised to engage to complete Phase 3

Phase 3 – some next steps highlights

We are grateful for any support you choose to donate to this project and help us create something special

Official website: rememberingthefuturewithherbgreene.com

 

CRITICAL SOLUTIONS tells the story of the chemists of the Manhattan Project, how they created an entirely new branch of science (radiochemistry/nuclear chemistry), and unfortunately due to security and classification requirements, never received credit for the incredible work they accomplished. These discoveries created the modern world and are arguably one of the most important events in human history.

While other details of the origin story of nuclear fission have been told in great depth, the story of the chemistry and separation techniques remains missing. Relying on first hand accounts from Project veterans, current radiochemists, military experts and historians, a more complete understanding of how these scientists changed the modern world is gleaned. Touching on everything from power production, national security, space travel, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, fundamental science, and other influential aspects of society, the information learned from these trailblazers can’t be underestimated.

The monumental effort of academia, industry, and government (the original nuclear triad) all working in concert allow the United States and its allies to successfully develop these technologies in the face of almost insurmountable odds. Venturing far beyond the naturally occurring elements, scientists learn to create specific isotopes to be utilized in extremely specific applications that advance their immediate war goals and branch widely into the fields of medicine, space exploration, power production, and other society directing arenas.

Charles Coryell (Chief of the Fission Products Section), Glen Seaborg (discoverer of plutonium and Nobel Prize Winner), Gerhart Friedlander (Leader of the Radioactive Lanthanum group in the Chemistry Division and refugee from Nazi Germany), Lawrence Bartell (Chemist in Seaborg’s plutonium research group), Bert Tolbert (Separation chemist in E.O. Lawrence’s Radiation Laboratory) and others each contribute unique and largely unknown voices. Successes, failures, fears, and laughter of their time working on the Manhattan Project help bring the danger, urgency, and scientific excitement of those times to the fore. Jenifer Shafer (Colorado School of Mines) provides an engaging and informative perspective into current academic research of these unique elements. Troy Mueller (Director, Nuclear Technology and Safety at Naval Reactors) is an expert in shielding/safety, and will add weight and real life examples of just how important these topics are to radiochemistry/nuclear technology and the modern world.

All children need food, a safe and stable place to live, and health care. But today, millions of American kids lack these basic needs. And as a result of the pandemic, an increasing number of families have lost health insurance, lack food, and face eviction or foreclosure ending with homelessness.

In the midst of this increasingly dire situation, some children fall victim to the physical and sexual abuse by family members. Many more find themselves going without basic needs due to poverty or other circumstances. 

In 2020, according to federal HHS statistics, 213,964 children or one in 300 kids, were removed from their home and placed in foster care. However, only one-in-seven cases involved abuse. In six-out-of-seven cases, kids were removed from their homes for neglect, frequently involving circumstances resulting from poverty.

For many children, separation from their families and placement into the often sparsely regulated foster care system, can result in their situations becoming even more dire.
 
States spend billions of dollars a year on children once they are in foster care, but often only pennies on the dollar to help families that are struggling with poverty to provide sufficient food, health care or shelter for their kids. In those cases, the solution all too often is to remove these children from their homes.  
 
How can it be that the U.S. child welfare and protection system has ended up an acknowledged failure for decades when it comes to caring for children in need, protecting them against abuse and neglect, and strengthening families?

How can it be that a state like Massachusetts, home to Harvard University, Children’s Hospital and other world-class institutions brimming with expertise in child wellness and development, has been among the states at the bottom of the barrel for decades when it comes to preventing the abuse and neglect of kids and strengthening families? And why has the state been unable to stop a litany of horrific, high-profile deaths of kids placed in state care for their safety that have dominated the news over the past decade?

How can it be that New Jersey, once among the worst in the nation for child welfare and protection, has emerged as a recognized best state in the country following a 20-year renovation of its child welfare system? 

What would it take to fix the nation’s child welfare system, in order to ensure that all children get the care and protection they need and deserve?  

An unprecedented reporting team composed of seasoned journalists with decades of experience covering child welfare nationally, intrepid student journalists doing enterprise reporting on this story, and leading national experts is working to identify and expose the underlying systemic problems in the child welfare system. This includes the unfair and disproportionate impact of the failed system on parents who have disabilities, mental health, and substance abuse issues; victims of domestic violence; people of color; and those facing economic hardship. 
 
Finally, this non-profit independent documentary production, slated for festival, theatrical and public television release, will be accompanied by a deep community and educational outreach campaign to engage the public in seeking changes that can and will help protect and care for children in need and strengthen families. Broken will shed light and propose working solutions — and by doing so will save lives. 

Please make your critical donation now — and then spread the word to your friends and family and through your social media network. 
 
All donations are tax-deductible and are administered by our 501(c)(3) non-profit fiscal sponsor, Filmmaker Collaborative.

 

I have made a deeply personal film about my family becoming war refugees (WWII) and the six years afterwards in the Allies’ “Displaced Persons” camps, experiencing starvation, sickness, living in rubble, witnessing such things as a woman lay down on the tracks and her body parts flying in the air, an image that haunted me for years into my adulthood. This documentary is told from my point of view as a child, of what I saw and witnessed while growing up. It is also the story of my grandmother who was determined to survive Hitler and then afterward struggle to suvive the refugee camps among 12 million starving people searching for food and living in bombed out buildings. This documentary also parallels my father’s journey, a man who served in the Red Army and who returns from fighting the Japanese in August of 1945 only to be snatched off the street at gunpoint, stuffed into a cattle car with many other men, and sent to Stalin’s forced labor camps, called the Gulag.
Many people dont know about this time in history. The Ukraine crisis has awakened some. Understanding unending wars’ unique destruction to children and families is what I hope to communicate. Most stories about WWII are told about the historical battles but not about the aftermath of women and children.

Kaboom! How Comics Changed America (w.t.) is a new three-part television series that explores the history of American comics, showing how this once lowbrow art form associated with youth rose to the heights of legitimacy and prestige. Comics today are used in every corner of academia and have inspired blockbuster movies seen by millions. They are also bellwethers of the times: Art Spiegelman’s Maus won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992, but thirty years later has been banned from schools in Tennessee.   

Comics have always caused trouble, and comics creators have always found ways around restrictive rules and codes. Our series offers a broad look at the many genres that have defined American comics, with an emphasis on the underground and alternative traditions, and on creator-owned comics that continue to be at the heart of comics innovation today. Each film features the stories of larger than life characters, many of them immigrants and outsiders who use this medium to tell their own versions of the American story.

Episode 1 introduces the very earliest American cartoons, including Ben Franklin’s “Join, or Die” panel that became our first meme, and a scathing strip by schoolboys at Kings College (NY) that lampooned their professor. It tells the story of Thomas Nast, who created our images of Uncle Sam and Santa Claus and destroyed the career of “Boss” Tweed with his political comics.  We see how William Randolph Hearst outspent Joseph Pulitzer for Hogan’s Alley, which featured “the yellow kid” and gave us the phrase “yellow journalism.” Comic strips helped sell newspapers, and as they became increasingly popular, they were published on their own. In the 1930s Maxwell Gaines (né Ginsberg) helped establish the comic book industry and launched Educational Comics (EC) with the aim of publishing uplifting stories. The world of comic strips exploded. 

Episode 2 begins at a moment when comics had become so culturally powerful, they scared people. The U.S. Senate met in 1954 to discuss the dangers that comics posed to young minds. Under pressure to regulate itself, the industry created a “Comics Code” to enforce conservative values through both words and images. After the death of his father, who had created EC Comics, William Gains transformed the company into a popular label for horror, suspense, sci-fi, and political humor. EC’s Mad, the brainchild of Harvey Kurtzman, became a must-read for adolescents who shared Kurtzman’s subversive brand of humor. These innovations stood in clear violation of the Code, and Mad had to re-label itself as a “magazine” just to stay in print. But the Code inspired new innovations: a network of underground comics, where artists broke taboos, experimented, and rethought the way comics could be distributed. A leader of this movement, Robert Crumb, created the salacious Zap, which came with a warning label: “For adult intellectuals only!” Trina Robbins produced the first all-women comics anthology, Wimmen’s Comix.  Howard Cruse edited Gay Comix, while Justin Green, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, and Harvey Pekar pioneered the autobiographical tell-all.

By Episode 3, comics are everywhere, with new books and journals appearing each month. Sales of comics and graphic novels top $1.2 billion in 2019, and the medium becomes known for social critique and first person narrative, especially on topics of ethnicity and sexuality. Artists from Jewish, Black, Latinx, Asian, and LGBTQ communities draw from the edgy yet accessible quality of the comics platform to make their voices heard.  Superhero stories make a comeback and inspire a wave of new Hollywood films. Comics Studies explodes in popularity at academic institutions across the country. Most publishing houses now have graphic novel imprints for children and young adults, and Kickstarter has become the largest ever “publisher” of graphic novels and comics. In a moment of American history when so many people are rethinking our identity and place in the world, it is no wonder that comics has become a go-to platform for passionate new creators and fans.  

COMICS USA has been awarded development funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The producer is Kathryn Dietz, an award-winning PBS filmmaker who grew up on Archie comics and still has a stack of her favorite Mad magazines. The director is Asaf Galay, whose The Hebrew Superhero told the story of Israeli comics, and whose other award-winning films highlight the contributions of Jewish artists to American culture. He writes, “This is a story of outcasts and outsiders whose tenacity and artistic commitment enabled them to transform America’s cultural landscape and surprise the world.” 

 

 

 

Can you imagine how painful it must be to look in the mirror and find a stranger staring back?

Johnny Depp, a fierce advocate, unwavering friend and staunch Ally of the LBGTQ+ community, donates his time, energy and considerable talents to narrate and add original music to the feature length documentary, This is Me. 

This is Me explores the challenges, both from within and from society, that face the LBGTQ+ community and most specifically Transgender men and women that on top of having to summon up the incredible courage to transition, must also endure the cold realities of being disowned by family, discarded by friends, face the hatred of strangers, and survive their own internal struggles… all to find the love, acceptance and happiness that the rest of us take for granted.

In This is Me, we meet transgender men and women from all over the country. They are all of different races, ages and backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common; they have all looked in that mirror and found a stranger staring back. 

UNLOCKING RNA tells the amazing story of Nobel Laureate Dr. Philip Sharp and the events that led to the birth of the biotech revolution, set in Kendall Square, the most innovative square mile on the planet.

Some say the US has fallen behind, with great scientific discoveries happening abroad and Asia on the cutting edge. But we cannot overlook the incredible innovation and discoveries made possible by the US biotech industry, driving economies worldwide.

In this story, we unearth the humble Kentucky roots of Nobel Laureate Dr. Phillip A. Sharp and his discovery of RNA splicing that led to the biotech revolution as we know it today.

UNLOCKING RNA will take you on an journey through the birth and proliferation of a movement that has saved millions of lives and whose headquarters remain in Kendall Square in the heart of Cambridge, Massachusetts – known as the most innovative square mile on the planet.

As the world has now been introduced to mRNA technology through the lifesaving vaccines developed to combat COVID-19, the time is ripe to share the full story of the groundbreaking work and key players that paved the way for this revolution.

DIRECTOR Bill Haney

PRODUCER Carina Chavda, Bill Haney

WEBSITE www.uncommonproductions.com/unlocking-rna

 

Our intent is to tell the raw story – the raw story of the “military experience” downrange, the dynamic while deployed, the pivotal moments when they return home, and ultimately how they navigate the CIVILIAN workplace, the community and most significantly, their home with their loved ones. THE RAW Story has many layers AND we intend to delve and dig deep during intense interviews as they share how they navigate the rough terrain of civilian life after multiple deployments, how they maintain emotional healthy relationships within their community of fellow Veterans as well as their “tribe.”
 
Further, we will tell the raw story of Veteran suicide and talk to surviving family members, and how they are coping, and what they’ve done to honor their family members memory.Another element of this documentary will highlight grassroots organizations, Veteran owned non-profit organization, Hidden Wounds (https://hiddenwounds.org/) Project Josiah (https://projectjosiah.org/). Celebrate Freedom Foundation, gocff.org, Project Refit, projectrefit.us, Heroic Gardens, heroicgardens.org The Lazy Lab Hunting Club lazylabhc.org Awareness 22, https://awareness22.com/The Giordano Foundation.giordanofoundation.org
 
We will talk to major players at the Department of Veterans Affairs. We will ask bold questions to these experts. (e.g., How can they better serve Veterans and their families? What can VA providers do better and also discuss the paradigm shift to client centered -and their whole health initiative. 
 
We will delve into the latest research on how to best serve Veterans and their families, University of South Carolina’s Dr. Aubrey Sugeit will present straightforward evidence of combating PTSD. We will interview other Professors at Rutgers University in NJ conducting research involving effective therapies for Veterans to heal from PTSD. 
 
We will ask bold questions to politicians fighting on the frontlines every day for Veterans. (e.g., What are local and state politicians doing right now to take action?) We will interview Joe Wilson in SC and other politicians to explore real political change (Columbia, Philadelphia, New Jersey, etc.) 
 
And finally present a Call to Action – What outcomes do the military and Veteran community want to realize for our nation’s heroes? What the community at large can do to help? We will provide local resources for each state/region in the U.S.
 
We are raising funds for our full feature documentary – All insurance costs, administrative costs, accounting costs, Development, fundraising/marketing efforts, pre-production, production, post-production, film festival activities, outreach, marketing and distribution costs. We have successfully raised 10,000 dollars to fund the trailer and 1,000 dollars to film one shoot at the Army Navy game, featuring the president of the Lazy Lab Hunting Club.
 
The Barbara Giordano Foundation – serves the women veterans exclusively. They provide holistic wellness retreats, programs and unique therapies, professional development and other dynamic resources to empower Veteran women.
 
THANK YOU SO MUCH IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR SUPPORT FOR THIS VERY IMPORTANT FILM!
 
Click here to view the full trailer: https://youtu.be/q7lR3fdx1Qw