Artists' Television Access

Mad Dance Film Screening, Vol. II

Thursday, September 27, 2012, 8:00 pm, $5-$10

Mad Dance showcases beautiful and provocative films & videos that re-envision the way we think and speak about our individual and collective mental health in today’s chaotic world. Tonight’s screening benefits and celebrates the 10-year anniversary of The Icarus Project; a grassroots, mutual aid and support network that believes lived experiences of madness are “dangerous gifts” needing cultivation and care, rather than diagnoses and labels of disease and disorder.

Program Descriptions:

Live Performance by The Mod Hatter (5 minutes)

Mental Health: Keeping Mentally Fit (1952, 12 minutes, color) Produced by Encyclopedia Britannica Films

Mental Health: Keeping Mentally Fit is an “emotional maturity film’ that outlines the four steps to mental health: express your emotions, know your own abilities and limitations, respect others, and solve problems in a timely manner. Kind old Dr. Martin tours the mental health of his town at the high school graduation. Amidst interesting scenes of small town life, the doctor begins correcting the children’s problems with ludicrously oversimplified explanations. – notes by Quality Information Publishers

Here I Am (1962, 10 minutes, b/w) by Bruce Baillie

Here I Am is a lyrical and sensitive, low-key portrait of the East Bay Activity Center, a school in Oakland, California, started in the 1950s to help “emotionally disturbed” children. Often shown in unobtrusive close-up, the youngsters appear as thinking individuals, enjoying the swings, puzzling out problems, or interacting with their teacher in the classroom.

Bruce Baillie is an experimental filmmaker who has committed his whole life to creating a more peaceful world through his art. His works are in the Library of Congress and considered national treasures. Baillie founded Canyon Cinema, the largest American distributor of experimental and avant-garde cinema. In 1961 Baillie began a screening series in his back yard together with Chick Strand and others. The series became the San Francisco Cinematheque, an acclaimed exhibitor of experimental film, digital media, and performance cinema that continues to this day.

Crooked Beauty (2011, 30 minutes, b/w, color) by Ken Paul Rosenthal

Crooked Beauty is a poetic chronicle of artist-activist Jacks McNamara’s transformative journey from psych ward inpatient to pioneering mental health advocacy. Poignant testimonials connect the fissures and fault lines of human nature to the unstable topography and mercurial weather patterns of the San Francisco Bay Area. Crooked Beauty reshapes mental health stigmas and stereotypes into a new healing culture and political model for living with madness as a tool of creativity, inspiration and hope.

Ken Paul Rosenthal makes film to cultivate a more participatory relationship with the animate world, and build community through live, conscious dialogue. His recent projects are poetic documentaries that weave personal and political narratives into natural and urban landscapes. Crooked Beauty has screened in 33 film festivals, won 14 awards, and been presented in person at dozens of peer support networks, hospitals, universities, and mental health symposia worldwide. 

The program was curated by Ken Paul Rosenthal


*** phenomenal raffle prizes!!! ***

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