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.

In a time when women mattered little, and black women not at all, Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman changed not only the course of her life but that of American History. Set against the backdrop of the Revolutionary War, Mumbet, who could neither read nor write, created her own declaration of independence. Ripped from her enslaved parents, she is given as a gift to a haughty and jealous Hannah Ashley, wife of the wealthy and successful Colonial John Ashley. Mumbet becomes privy to the heated discussions of the rebellion, serving her master and the eleven men writing letters of grievance to King George, demanding freedom from British rule. As she serves, she listens as they write the Resolves that would ultimately become a precursor to our Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

We watch as Mumbet grows into a healer, midwife and mother and becomes respected by both the Black and White communities. As her power and stature grow with her community as well as with John Ashley and the men she serves, Hannah Ashley’s jealously culminates in an act of rage aimed at Mumbet’s daughter. Before the red-hot shovel strikes the child, Mumbet takes the blow which burns her to the bone and very nearly kills her. But Mumbet’s will and mother’s heart is stronger than most and she lives to bear the scar, wearing it like a warrior. When the words she has heard in the study become law, “all men are created free and equal,” she takes matters and fate into her own hands, becoming the first enslaved person to use these words in a court of law to free herself from a lifetime of servitude, and set the course for thousands of slaves to be set free, eighty years before the Emancipation Proclamation.

Bay Creek Tennis Camp

Writer/director Michele Meek’s forthcoming short film Bay Creek Tennis Camp is a timely and refreshing take on the cross-generation disconnect around gender inclusivity. In the film, Coach Charlie has been doing things his way for decades. But the Generation Alpha kids who join his camp this year won’t stand for being split by gender—and they decide to teach him a lesson in a charming and amusing way.

LGBTQ+ youth are on the rise in the United States, and in a 2021 study by the Trevor Project, approximately one in four youth identify as nonbinary. These increases have provoked more awareness and dialogue within academic, parenting, medical, and educational communities. At the same time, anti-LGBTQ+ bills are being put through local legislatures at an alarming rate, and most target youth—including their rights to play sports and use bathrooms based on their gender identity.

Bay Creek Tennis Camp gently poses a provocative question—what if gender is not the ideal way to divide youth?

By presenting a story about a group of Gen Alpha kids, played by several nonbinary youth who come together to advocate for themselves and each other, Bay Creek Tennis Camp can be used to entertain, educate, and inform adults and youth. By screening the completed film at festivals, schools, camps, and other venues, our hope is that Bay Creek Tennis Camp can help spark compassionate conversations about youth, gender, and sports.

FUNDRAISING UPDATE
Bay Creek Tennis Camp is currently in post-production having wrapped an August 2022 shoot on a RED camera. Our cast includes a diverse group of nonbinary youth actors alongside professional actor Paul Kandarian as Coach Charlie. Director Michele Meek has seeded the project with $3,000 and is seeking another $2,700 in donations/contributions to the film. 

 
For more information, contact Michele Meek at mm@michelemeek.com or visit https://michelemeek.com
 

Have you ever drifted from your best friend? 

I thought mine would remain beside me forever. I pictured us laughing as bridesmaids at each other’s weddings and raising our kids side-by-side. She knew me better than anyone. So what happened? Did I do something wrong? Or did we just grow into different people, during the most formative years of our life? 

For a teen girl, losing a best friend can feel like losing your entire world, but it’s rarely given the same weight as losing a romantic relationship. Growing Pains follows  childhood girlfriends Zoe and Nat, who face the tumultuous transition from middle to high school as their friendship drifts apart. A real and raw coming-of-age story about identity, sexuality, the aftermath of surviving cancer, and growing into yourself amidst a society that throws a rug over the serious hardships that teen girls face. Addressing disability, queer representation, and mental health; Growing Pains is a love letter from my co-writer Mariana Fabian and me, who have forever struggled to see our stories depicted accurately on screen. Or, depicted at all. 

Growing Pains is written, directed, produced, and filmed by women. Our film is a female-centered story, so it’s only appropriate that women are both in front and behind the camera.  According to the Geena Davis Institute, only 7% of directors, 13% of writers, and 20% of producers are female. In the entertainment industry, men outnumber women in key production roles by 5 to 1. Growing Pains is supporting female filmmakers and championing diverse, real stories about young women. Shot entirely in Massachusetts, Growing Pains uplifts local New England artists and locations. 

Film Synopsis

Zoe Christopoulos and Natalia “Nat” Guzman are childhood best friends. Zoe is a bubbly and self-involved childhood cancer survivor. Nat is witty, hard-working, and reserved. During the summer before high school, their friendship drifts apart as they each set out on their own journey of self-discovery. 

Zoe develops insecurities about her body, which stem from a cancer scar that divides her stomach in half. In an attempt to feel more confident in her own skin, she joins the crew team but then develops body dysmorphia and an eating disorder. Crew becomes quite toxic for Zoe, as she is trying to make the lightweight boat. She resorts to unhealthy habits, like using diet pills and restricting her eating. Zoe meets Dan, an older boy on the crew team, who pressures her into sexual encounters. Zoe pretends to be someone she’s not and loses her innocence too fast, which ultimately makes her feel worse. 

Zoe’s self-involvement prevents her from noticing Nat as she navigates discovering her sexuality and first crush on Lexie, a new co-worker. Her dad is uncomfortable with Nat’s budding relationship, as he comes to terms with his internalized homophobia. 

Nat struggles to manage her family’s expectations, as her parents put tremendous pressure on her to work full time at her family’s restaurant. She has the responsibilities of an adult and no free time to be a kid, as she is expected to run the restaurant and help her family succeed. Nat’s home life fractures, as her relationship fails with her dad and her grandmother becomes ill.

Zoe and Nat’s friendship comes to a boiling point as Zoe is unaware of what Nat is going through and Nat puts little effort into maintaining their friendship. As Nat hangs out more with Lexie, Zoe becomes jealous and afraid of where she stands with Nat. 

Will Nat and Zoe be able to rectify their fragmented friendship?

Meet our Characters

Zoe Christopoulos, a 15 year old cancer survivor, struggles with body dysmorphia and an eating disorder as she pursues crew. Played by Molly Morneweck, a high school student from Wayland Massachusetts with a love of performing. After many roles in the theater, this is her first film project. The role of Zoe resonates with Molly, who is also a rower with a medical history that includes a tumor removal at age six. She is thrilled to be a part of this amazing film.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Nat Guzman, a 14 year old closeted lesbian Latina, feels an immense sense of responsibility to manage her family’s expectations and balance her home life. Played by Deanna Tarraza. Deanna Tarraza was born and raised in Boston, MA. Her love for acting started at the young age of eight when she began doing commercial and print work. Since then, she has been in a number of projects with Growing Pains being her first lead in a feature film. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team

Catherine Argyrople – Catherine Argyrople (she/they) is the Writer, Director, and Producer of Growing Pains. Catherine is a childhood cancer survivor and is a differently-abled filmmaker. Catherine graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Northeastern University in Boston, where she studied Media & Screen Studies and Media Production. She has almost a decade of experience in the media space, from her work as a freelance photographer and videographer to her work as a video producer. Catherine is excited to be making her directorial debut with this project, as narrative work is where her passion lies. 

 
 
 
 
 

Mariana Fabian – Mariana Fabian (she/they) is a film studies/media scholar at NC State and a student journalist. She is the Writer and Associate Producer for Growing Pains. She helped write this film because she wanted to see more characters like herself on screen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle Carr – Michelle (she/her) is the Producer for Growing Pains & a Professor at Northeastern University in the Communication Studies Department. Michelle teaches Television Studio Production, Television Field Production, and Sound Production for Digital Media courses within the department. Michelle additionally holds a graduate certificate in Business Administration and continues to work professionally in the Boston area on various educational research video projects as a freelance producer, editor and videographer. She just finished co-producing (with Bill Lancaster), directing, and editing her first dramatic short, “Moving On” (2022), starring veteran actor Tom Kemp.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Lynn Weissman – Lynn Weissman (she/her) is an award-winning DP/Cinematographer based in the Boston area. Her work has aired on major networks including PBS, HBO, Discovery+, and has screened and won awards in film festivals worldwide.  Weissman’s narrative cinematography work includes Penny, Season 3 of the Unconditional Love web series, and The Secret We Hide Tiki Tok mini-series. More about Lynn Weissman at WeisswomanProductions.com and imdb.com/name/nm2363120/.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lia Lucine Cary – Lia-Lucine Cary (she/her) is the Assistant Director & Associate Producer for Growing Pains.  Lia-Lucine is a creative filmmaker whose central aim is to capture untold stories and to inspire people to rethink their relationship with each other and the natural world. She has pursued her love of storytelling through filmmaking, teaching, and advocacy. Lia has filmed and produced projects with the world’s leading media and brand outlets including USA, MTV, and Google.

 

 

 

Plans for Film 

We are filming over 21 days from August 9 to September 10, 2022. We are filming at 9 different locations across Massachusetts. Debut dramatic feature films like The Novice, Pariah, and Eighth Grade have premiered at festivals such as Tribeca and Sundance Film Festival, and have landed on streaming services such as HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and ShowTime. We see Growing Pains aligning with these films. 

 

 

Visual References

Incentives for Contributing

Incentives will begin to be distributed following our Production in September 2022

$25 – Receive a social media shout-out on our Growing Pains Instagram & Facebook accounts, plus a “Special Thanks” mention in the film credits!

$50 – A Behind-the-Scenes digital photo book & a digital thank you note from Catherine Argyrople. And, all of the perks above!

$75 – A Growing Pains-inspired playlist on Spotify. And, all of the perks above!

$150 – A digital copy of Catherine Argyrople’s annotated Growing Pains director script. And, all of the perks above!

$300 – A digital download of the film. And, all of the perks above!

$500 – A digital download of a signed Growing Pains poster. And, all of the perks above!

$1,000 – A Headshot Photography Session with Catherine Argyrople (applicable to MA residents only, redeemable in September 2022), as well as 2 tickets to the premiere of Growing Pains (travel & accommodation not included). And, all of the perks above!

$3,000 – A Associate Producer Credit on the film & IMDb, as well as 2 tickets to the premiere of Growing Pains (travel & accommodation not included). Plus, an exclusive Zoom Q & A with Writer/Director/Producer Catherine Argyrople to answer any of your burning questions about Growing Pains. And, all of the perks above!

$5,000 – A Producer Credit on the film & IMDb, as well as 2 tickets to the premiere of Growing Pains (travel & accommodation not included). Plus, an exclusive Zoom Q & A with Writer/Director/Producer Catherine Argyrople to answer any of your burning questions about Growing Pains. And, all of the perks above!

Set in Washington, DC, The Dream and The Come Up tells the story of Rob Johnson, an up-and-coming comedian as he fights to save a struggling comedy career and a failing relationship in the midst of a pandemic.

A college dropout, Rob’s life-long dream is to make it big as a comedian and leave the city where “nothing seems to be happening for him.” Against all odds, he embarks on a journey to record his first comedy special during the COVID-19 pandemic – a move he believes will take him out the city and launch him into the spotlight. But when his mother’s health begins to wane and his relationship begins to crumble, Rob finds himself striving to stay focused on his dream.

In the final moment of the story, Rob finally gets the opportunity to record his special and make his dream a reality. He is even invited to open for an internationally-renowned comedian at a sold-out show, but just before he is set to leave the city, he finds out his girlfriend’s life is hanging on a thread. In the end, Rob’s perception and priorities are changed forever as he realizes that a life of success and superstardom is worthless without someone with whom to share it. It is The Big Sick meets About Last Night and Think Like A Man.

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

 

On the heels of TJ’s 18th birthday,  a strange man appears at his door on Cape Cod to give him an envelope from his deadbeat father with a single car key, the name of a mechanic, and a California address with a date and time on it just a few weeks into the future. TJ’s curiosity gets the best of him as he sets out to uncover mysteries of his past, friendship and love – and the suspicious sealed container in the trunk of his 1968 Dodge Polara. Along the way he is guided by Billy, the neighborhood mechanic, Jake, his privileged best friend with overbearing parents, and Maeve, a young Irish woman on her own cross-country journey across the US. In this coming-of-age-story, TJ gains the courage to step into the next phase of his life with the beauty of the open road as his back-drop.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Tim Disney

PRODUCER, DIRECTOR Chaysen Beacham

PRODUCER, WRITER Bill Haney

WEBSITE www.uncommonproductions.com/polara

CAST: Paul Guilfoyle, Finn Haney, Katherine Laheen, Ross Partridge, William Chris Sumpter