Last week we shared with you the amazing news that our film "That Way Madness Lies…" was accepted into the Maryland International Film festival. This was exciting because it was the first festival acceptance, and a wonderful opportunity to have the film seen by the public — and to begin its mission of raising awareness of mental health care in America.
But, we have some very disappointing news to share today. There was a slim chance that the film's post-production would not be able to be completed in time with the financial resources we had, but there is also a whole other set of costs for clearances and insurances that are almost one third of the budget that we simply do not have. Director Sandra Luckow has a team standing by, a dedicated team that has to give paying work a priority OVER festival deadlines. Everyone, including you, our supporters have given as much as they have. Sandra has yet to take a penny and is supporting herself with university teaching. As things stand right now, it is unclear if the film will be completed. There is nothing left in the tank.
With great sadness we had to withdraw from the Maryland International Film Festival. Recognizing the importance of the film, the festival gave Director Sandra Luckow an invitation to show at next year's festival if it gets completed.
As things stand today, the film is "shut down" — that means we are at a complete stand still until another $150,000 is raised. Many people do not know the post-production costs of a film after photography and picture edit are finished. This our scenario:
The budget required to complete the film is:
All of you have already given to the film. This is not another direct request for money. However, this is a request for help. If you could just do ONE MORE THING please choose one of these action items and make it happen today:
CLICK HERE TO DONATE
Think of it this way: UNTREATED mental illness in this country costs an estimated 200 billion dollars a year, so much more than what it would take to give each and every person dignified health care which includes mental health. But we have to begin with an awareness as to where the problems lie. "That Way Madness Lies..." is our road map.
LATE BRAKING NEWS:
On the heels of this huge disappointment we received yet another festival acceptance -- the Nice International Film Festival in Nice, France at the end of May. But will it ever be seen? It is up to us.
It is with great excitement and pride that we share with you the news that OUR film "That Way Madness Lies…" has been accepted to the Maryland International Film Festival, Hagerstown. This is a fantastic first step toward getting the film in front of audiences, and sharing its message about mental health in America.
When we say OUR film, it is just that. OUR FILM. You, whether you were part of the original Kickstarter campaign back in 2012 – or whether you started supporting the film more recently – YOU are the reason this film exists and we are deeply grateful. Read a little bit about what one of our Executive Producers has to say about our film:
“I want nothing but great things for this film, not only as an advocacy tool (and it should be shown on Capitol Hill and the State Houses across the country and anywhere people care about gun control) but also as a source of support for people going through the extraordinary difficult problem of having an adult relative who is mentally ill.” - Executive Producer, Abigail Disney
Now, the real push begins. A mad dash to the finish that anyone who has run a long distance race (and make no mistake, this has been a marathon of epic proportions) knows well. Post production and legal clearances are our next challenges. And they are not, by any means, forgone conclusions. There is some concern that our funds will not cover everything.
However, for now, the news is good, and as a special treat we want to share with you three brand new previews of the film. These short glimpses at the film were made as part of an application for an NEA grant. Take a look, and let us know what you think at email@example.com, and don't forget to join us on Facebook.
Click here to watch the previews.
My Dear Supporters of "That Way Madness Lies..."
I write this to you on the last day of 2016, as an update, a reflection, and a call to action for a film that you have supported and is nearly finished — and sadly, is dangerously close to not being finished at all.
In documentary filmmaking the highest expenditures are in post-production: editing, sound editing, sound mixing, color correction and digital matching. In addition there are rental fees for studio facilities, lawyers fees for clearances, and errors and omissions insurance, not to mention publicity and distribution expenses. We have been able to complete three-quarters of the film on one-third of the budget needed because people have generously allowed delayed payment for much of their work. However, now we are up against post-production deadlines that cannot be met without funds. And so, once again Dear Supporters, I am asking for your help. This time to finish the film. Please reach out to anyone you know who could make a tax-deductible donation to the International Documentary Association ear-marked for "That Way Madness Lies..." — you can donate here.
Regardless for whom you voted for this past November, the fact is, the only candidate in the history of the United States who had a platform and priority for mental health care did not win; and the current president-elect has yet to put the issue on his radar. Yet, the ANNUAL costs of untreated mental illness in this country are upward of $200 billion a year. Imagine the possibilities if we could significantly reduce that cost with less-expensive and more efficient care made possible by an awareness of what is broken within our contradictory system. It remains my mission to show our lawmakers and mental health professionals what the obstacles and frustrations of the system are and how they affect everyone with our film “That way Madness Lies…”. We are so close to making it happen. Won’t you please help today?
The news is not all bad. We did make a lot of progress this year, and that’s why it’s so hard to see the finish line and realize we might not make it. Here is an overview of the tremendous progress we made last year:
In December of last year Regina K. Scully, the founder of Artemis Rising Foundations became the largest donor to the film with a donation of approximately 25% of the budget. This donation allowed us to propel the film forward into the last shoots and post-production. Joining the team was Anne Alvergue as Editor/co-writer, and Toby Shimin as Supervising Editor. These two women have provided their insightful talents to the film and helped, supported, and guided me to find the gems in countless hours of footage. It is difficult material not only because it is a personal film, but because the complexities and contradictions, legal and medical terminology and minutia can be mind-numbing. How do you show how difficult it is to traverse this broken, frustrating system without losing your audience? It has taken us longer than expected to find the way in, but our test screenings indicate that people are responding to it intimately and viscerally.
I hesitate to make a statement like the one above because it might suggest that we are sitting around waiting to be inspired. We are working full time, combing though footage, trying new things, researching, fact checking, writing and rewriting narration, test screening at least 40 hours a week. And for me this is on top of teaching three classes at Yale and Columbia Universities.
In October, Abigail E. Disney and her company Fork Films awarded us a generous grant for about 12% of the budget.
Emmy award winning composer Michael Bacon came aboard to write the original score and it has been a pleasure to work with him.
Songwriter Bill Coleman from the band Black Hawk County agreed to license the song Oregon (I Can't Go Home.) to the film. It has such meaning for anyone who was in Oregon in the 1970's and had a connection with the film "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" of which I was unaware until I contacted Bill.
We then set our sights on the Berlinale Film Festival, one of the biggest film markets in the world, that only accepted three American documentary films last year. Unfortunately, we were not accepted, but the blow was soften by the fact that we would not have been able to attend for lack of funds.
Now we have our sights set on premiering at perhaps the most appropriate place — The Portland International Film Festival, February 9-28. Here’s hoping we are accepted!
I have come to learn that film festivals consider far more than just the quality of the film in its decision to accept and although it is always a disappointing blow to my ego when rejected, a festival is and of itself an organic artistic creation of theme where individual pieces must contribute to a greater whole.
Below are the festival where I have applied thus far. Keep your fingers crossed if there is one in an area near you.
Here's to a healthy. peaceful and happy 2017. And to the year that will premiere "That Way Madness Lies..."
Thank you for all your support to this important film and cause!
Hello Madness Supporters!
I have a lot of news for you as we crash into autumn and all that means for the film. First two pieces of AMAZING news. (Actually, I can only tell you one of the two because I need to get the appropriate wording from the party involved..., but it is quite spectacular! I'll let you know as soon as possible!) But for now, without any wait, I can tell you that composer Michael Bacon has come aboard to write the original score for the film. Michael and I go way back to my film Belly Talkers in 1996. I hired him to do the music for the film and then after much work had been done, the production company fired Michael and locked me out of the edit. For 20 years I have wanted the opportunity to work with Michael and see it through. Luckily, he agreed to take another chance on me — knowing I have creative control this time! He is super-talented and you can learn more about him at www.michaelbaconmusic.com. Michael also has a band, the FABULOUS (my word) Bacon Brothers with his sibling Kevin. Their music is so fun and their egg videos on youtube are strange and wonderful.
I made a very big decision recently on the advice of my editors, Anne Alvergue and supervising editor, Toby Shimin. With the Sundance application deadline looming next week — and the crushing pressure to get the cut ready, teach my classes at Yale, Barnard and Columbia — I would unfortunately have to forego the time it takes to make thoughtful and meaningful story choices. And although you can make changes to the film from your application cut, our focus would turn to making a deliverable product instead of creativity. What Toby said to me that was really the game changer was that her apprehension did not stem from the fact that the film would not get in, but rather that it would get in and threaten our ability to make the best film we can. I have worked too long on this film (five years) to mess it up now. So, we are going to try for the Berlin Film Festival as the premiere instead.
Although this decision is completely logical and in the best interest of the film, I must confess that it was a huge blow to me because I have so much emotional baggage surrounding Sundance, both professionally and personally. But I’m confident I have done the right thing for the film.
On the financial front, I have applied for every grant I can find. There is interest from the Fledging Fund to see a rough cut of the film. This is so important because the money is for educational outreach of the film's topic. These grants are so competitive, and I was disappointed to learn that I did not receive the Pare Lorentz grant, although the International Documentary Association (IDA) did tell me that the film made the semi-finals and the reviewers comments were extraordinarily positive. I think that sometimes the grant award comes down to the specifics of the mission of the grant and which film is a better fit as opposed to the "best" film, whatever that means. If you know of anyone or any organization that needs to make a tax-deductible contribution, you can direct them to the donation section of this website. The IDA is our fiscal sponsor and a 501(c)3.
Finally, an update on my brother: Duanne was incarcerated on a felony stalking charge in July of 2015. After more than six weeks in solitary confinement (according to Duanne) he was sent to the forensic lockdown section of the Western State Hospital in an effort to get him competent to stand trial. Several attempts were made to restore him to competency before his medical rights were taken away and he was forcibly medicated. In May of 2016, he was still found unable to meet competency to stand trial so his charges were dismissed with prejudice and he was civilly committed to Western State Hospital. This was the first time in the past five years that he was actually treated for the erotomania that was the symptom of his first psychotic break in 2010. According to his social worker the anti-psychotic he was prescribed, Abilify, has no effect on this particular delusion. On September 8, 2016, I received an email from King County Jail letting me know that he would be released within the hour. No more information has been available to me no matter who I called and how I tried.
Duanne took me off of his ROI (Release of Information form) stopping all communication I might have with the hospital and with him. I do know that he is in Seattle for the time being, but I don't know where. We had one communication via email and he wants me to send him a series of cords and electronic accessories I had retrieved for him in Seattle. He wants me to send them to our uncle who lives in the area.
That's all for now. More soon to come.
Welcome to the new website for “That Way Madness Lies….” Looking at the blog archives, one might think this is a defunct project, but nothing could be further from the truth. Between living the experience, attempting to document it, raising the funds to continue the costly process of post-production and trying to give form to this unwieldy story, my waking hours have been filled.
There is great news, however. The film received a sizable grant from The Artemis Rising Foundation that allowed me to begin post- production. I hired the brilliantly talented editor Anne Alvergue who has begun to shape the raw material with sensitivity and clarity. Toby Shimin is our supervising editor, someone I have wanted to work with for 20 years, but the timing has never worked out. I feel like I am in a storytelling masterclass when we get together to go over the work.
We are working around-the-clock to make the application deadline of the Sundance Film Festival at the end of August. We have also been invited to show the film as a work-in-progress at the Au Contraire Film Festival in Montreal in October. This film festival is dedicated to films about mental illness. I am waiting to hear from Sundance to find out if showing the work-in-progress at Au Contraire will adversely affect my application because films accepted to Sundance have to be a world premiere.
In total we have raised about a third of the budget, or $200,000. We need to raise the remainder quickly and are looking into every viable avenue possible. Dewey Wigod has come on as producer after brokering the Artemis Grant. I implore you to consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the International Documentary Association, the fiscal sponsor of “That Way Madness Lies…” There are donation buttons throughout this site.
As I continue to work on this film, I become more encouraged that it can be the roadmap of the obstacles and contradictions that exist in the mental health system. Please consider a donation. Together we can help the most vulnerable of our society.
I know that it has been a while since I have posted an update, and, perhaps, many of you who have backed this project have wondered if it was still in the making. Well, despite the difficulties of living this story as well as filming it, I am making progress on the film, if not the actual situation. This Sunday, September 29, 2013, CBS 60 Minutes is doing a story called “Imminent Danger” about mental illness. It will feature an interview with me as well as clips from my film“That Way Madness Lies…”. I have worked over 9 months with the producers Coleman Cowan and Graham Messick, and have found them to be impeccable journalists and nice human beings.
Please help me get the word out to everyone you know to watch this program and then visit the project website at www.madnessthemovie.com. There they can find information on how to contribute to the film through the International Documentary Association, the fiscal sponsor of the film. All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.
I am hoping that this exposure will help get the film funded to completion and perhaps distributed. 20 years ago 60 Minutes featured my film “Sharp Edges” and it literally launched my filmmaking career. (Clips of that film will be seen on November 5 on ESPN documentary series 30 for 30 and again during the Winter Olympics.)
More than one-third of the Kickstarter money you contributed went to a highly recommended grant writer. After several egregious incompetencies, an unwillingness to take responsibility for her mistakes and not one successful grant application, she is no longer working for me. It seems to me that the stigma of mental illness hampers my funding capabilities with foundations. I have had much better luck and an overwhelming response from individuals whose lives have been touched by this unrelenting disorder.
So, we journey onward. As contributors to this movie, I am looking forward to your feedback of the 60 Minutes piece – honest and direct! Thank you once again.
Just hours after the Forbes Online article appeared The Oregonian went online with with the following story that is going to appear in hard copy on Sunday, April 7, 2013. This is an extremely well-written article by Anna Griffin who put a lot of time and research into understanding a very complicated story.
The exposure is coming at a very good time. Most of the Kickstarter money has been spent on a grant writer (and we are waiting to hear from those to which we applied) as well as production as what happens to my brother from here on out could be the finale of the piece. We were accepted into the International Documentary Association Fiscal Sponsorship program because the Kickstarter campaign ended after 35 days. Donations can now be made to the film through the IDA and all contributions are tax deductible. http://documentary.org/fsp/4037
Please continue to help me get the word out about the film. You never know who you know that could be helped by the effects this film can have. Let’s hope it changes the policies of our mental health system.
Forbes article on “That Way Madness Lies…”Today Forbes Magazine put out an article about my film “That Way Madness Lies…” I would love for you read it and pass it on. This Sunday in The Oregonian there is going to an extensive article written by Anna Griffen about the quagmire I find myself and my family.
Thank you for your support. This film could not be in production without you.
CBS 60 Minutes is doing an extensive piece on mental illness with its correspondent Steve Kroft and are including “That Way Madness Lies…” as a story element. They were made aware of the film through our executive producer Alisa Thorne and plan to include footage from the movie as well as an interview with filmmaker Sandra Luckow. Sandra was extremely impressed with the two producers with whom she worked Coleman Cowan and Griffith Messick. Their journalistic integrity, sensitivity and transparency were beyond measure. Hopefully, it will increase people’s awareness not only of the subject matter, but the film as well so that the $750,000 budget can be met.
Let’s start with the positive. Here is to looking forward to the New Year of 2013. I hope it brings health and happiness to you all. “That Way Madness Lies..” has been accepted into the International Documentary Association’s Fiscal Sponsorship Program. Please get the word out and contributions can be made directly to the IDA and are tax-deductible. Time is of the essence. The fundraising continues and with much of the money you so generously contributed to this project, I have hired grant writer and Arts Consultant, Wanda Bershen of Red Diaper Productions to help with the laborious process of filling out grant applications at places like ITVS, Sundance and the Ford Foundation. My company Ojeda Films, Inc. has been accepted as a signatory of the Director’s Guild of America to allow me to make this film.
Unfortunately, the negative news is in the lead at the moment and this part of the update is difficult, almost unimaginable to write. Most of you are already aware of the bizarre and tragic set of circumstances that have influenced “That Way Madness Lies…” In the month of December my mother died in a tragic accident while retrieving Christmas decorations and my brother was too paranoid to come to the hospital to say goodbye and publicly blamed me for her death. The night after she died, there was the fatal shootings at the Clackamas Town Center mall where my brother and I had spent our teen years. He then made written threats to me before the memorial service that 325 people attended, but did not meet the legal criteria to be put on a 3 day psychiatric hold. Armed guards, local police and attendees with licenses to carry concealed weapons were present at the memorial. With the recent shooting in Sandy Hook and The Clackamas Town Center, along with our national denial to recognize and take action in the name of civil rights, my brother’s story is a graphic example of a broken system and a society whose priorities lack compassion.
I am including, with this update, an article I wrote for the Oregonian. It was to be published last Saturday. At the 11th hour the Oregonian lawyers swooped in and pulled it, saying that they were queasy that I was potentially pointing out or suggesting that, due to my brother’s behavior and diagnosis, he had the potential to be a mass-murder. Well, yes. The evidence is overwhelming. How else are we to avoid such tragedies if we refuse to see, accept and act on what is in front of us?
By SANDRA LUCKOW
On the evening of December 11, 2012, I was sitting at my parents’ kitchen table in Oregon City surrounded by grieving relatives. I was trying to write a eulogy for my mother, who had died the previous evening, when my iPad began to ding and flash with a barrage of e-mail, and both the house phone and my cell phone began to ring incessantly. The calls and the e-mails were consistent: Was I all right? Had I been hurt? Was my 49-year-old mentally ill brother, a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, the Clackamas Town Center shooter? The only question I could answer was that I had not been a victim in the shooting. What about my brother Duanne? I called the Bridgeview, the half-way house where he was staying in Portland, but because of privacy rules, the receptionist could not confirm or deny his presence, even after I explained the circumstances. The television and Internet news were not releasing any information about the shooter other than he had been “neutralized.” I could read between those lines. He was dead. So at midnight I drove from Oregon City to downtown Portland. Fortunately, my fears about Duanne were wrong, and people chastised me as hysterical under the grief of my mother’s death. All I can say is that it is obvious they do not know what it is like to be dealing everyday with the unpredictability of mental illness.
We, as a nation, are doing our level best to ignore the devastation wrought by mental illness and then become stunned and sorrowful for a few days when victims are claimed. Look at our ability to ignore. The Colorado movie theater shooter was mentally ill, the family unable to get care after repeated attempts. The Sandy Hook shooter was also mentally ill, and the same appears to be true in the Clackamas Town Center shooting. And if I had not had a plan A, B, and C in place for my mother’s Celebration of Life in Milwaukie, just five days after the Clackamas Town Center shooting, the 325 people in attendance could have been just another news headline.
Again, hysterical-over reaction you say? Ignoring the obvious leads to tragedy, I say. My brother refused to believe that our mother was on life support in the trauma ICU when I informed him of her accident. He thought it was a plot to entrap him since both of my parents had restraining orders against him since March of 2012. She died surrounded by family and friends, but her son too paranoid to say goodbye. My mother fell off a ladder Dec. 6 while retrieving Christmas decorations at her Oregon City home. Our mother died on December 10, at 9:23 p.m., at the age of 71. Her accidental death is a painful shock to her family, friends and community, but dealing with my mentally ill brother in the wake of her death – and for that matter every day for the last three years – is beyond excruciating and almost impossible. I am relieved that my mother no longer has to deal with this insidious disease, the constant havoc it causes my family and slamming of doors when seeking help. As a nation we grieve over these recent shootings when, in fact, we did nothing to prevent them.
I cannot mourn my mother because everyday I am fighting our system; trying to protect family and friends from my brother. My brother did not believe my mother died until he saw the obituary. When he found out that the Celebration of Life was to be on December 17, my birthday, he thought it a ruse for me to hold a party. The threatening emails began, laced with profanity: “I have played the matrix game of b.s. with my blood sister Sandra Luckow who is the character daughter of Satan and all his demons.“ "You sure want to go out with a bang, huh?” “I told you the freight train would smack you and your mind will implode like the twin towers.” I called Project Respond, Portland’s first-responders crisis unit that helped me get him committed in 2010 to a full 180 days at the Oregon State Hospital. I wanted a 72-hour psychiatric hold to protect people expected at my mother’s Celebration of Life. Project Respond saw cause to investigate, but they called me back after a brief visit with him saying he did not meet the criteria for an involuntary hold. He told them he had no intention of harming anyone. If they had looked, they would have found a recent conviction for criminal trespass as well as the two restraining orders. Incredulous to their findings, I passionately suggested that, “This is our chance to do the right thing. Do we need another Clackamas Town Center or Sandy Hook when we had every opportunity to prevent it?”
I considered canceling the memorial. I had had a belly full of death and “unfortunate” circumstances in the previous week. Instead, I hired two armed guards for the evening; had the Milwaukie Police patrol the event; and there was at least one person at the ceremony with a license to carry a concealed weapon. Make no mistake, we are to blame for these policies we have championed in a short-sighted manner to make our lives seemingly more “pleasant.”
The next day, my father, who has dementia, and my deceased mother received notice from Clackamas County Courthouse to appear in two days as Duanne was contesting the restraining orders. I prepared my father, as he suffered the loss of his wife of fifty years and the confusion of losing his son to schizophrenia for the hearing at 10:30 am on December 20, 2012. We arrived at the courthouse with everyone else who had been granted a hearing and there sat my brother. He did not acknowledge us verbally, but gave us a stare that can only be interpreted as hate.
The judge bumbled through a series of questions, trying to make sense of the complicated situation of restraining orders, my limited conservatorship over my brother’s property, my mother’s now defunct conservatorship over my father, Social Security payees, etc. She refused any offer of clarification and snapped, “There is a process here and we are going to follow it.” Finally, she glanced at one of the documents and addressed my brother. “I see here that the judge’s name is circled in orange ink and there is a notation that reads, “You’re done, (expletive)! Any idea who put that there?” A little game of cat and mouse ensued and then my brother said that he could not reveal who had written it even though he knew. It wasn’t until the Judge felt a perceived threat that she saw any need to provide protection in her courtroom. Far too little too late, the judge inadvertently noticed the court had misread the dates on the restraining order and meekly apologized, noting that my brother should never have been granted a hearing in the first place. She asked Duanne if he had anything to say. He complained about the system and told the judge, “You are being watched.” “Who is watching me?” she asked. “There are two invisible people watching you.” At this point, a deputy entered and sat down. The judge said she called in a deputy not because anyone had done anything wrong or even inappropriate but rather to prevent anything from happening. “We want to keep everyone safe,” she said. In the wake of recent events in our country, is procedure, particularly bad procedure, simply a way to hide the judge’s own culpability as well as responsibility.
We, meaning you and me, our neighbors, our cities, our politicians are allowing mental illness to crush us by tying the hands of first-responders and doctors with procedure and policy because we are scared of reverting to the times of straitjackets and lobotomies. Do we think so little of ourselves? We are the wealthiest nation in the world and yet completely morally bankrupt and cowardly when it comes to dealing with the mentally ill. Statistically, the mentally ill have a greater chance of being a victim than the perpetrator of a crime, so why, then, is this happening? The answer is shockingly clear and simple. We let this progressive disease fester too long. If we had we had a system in place to help these individuals when signs first begin instead of having to wait until imminent danger, a lot more people would be alive today. It is easier to say that a person has a right to be mentally ill and it is not our problem. Civil rights assumes full mental faculties, but the cost of that assumption is far more than any society, than any community, than any parent should have to pay. If a person broke his leg and was withering in the streets, he would be taken to the hospital, even against his will. And yet, a broken leg is not life threatening. Why does one have to be a danger to himself or others when it comes to the mentally ill?
Sandra Luckow grew up in Clackamas County and began her filmmaking career as an undergraduate at Yale University. She now lives in New York and teaches documentary and narrative film production at Yale University School of Art, Barnard College and Columbia University. She is working on a feature-length documentary film account of her brother’s battle with late-onset schizophrenia.
Sandra Luckow is an award winning filmmaker based in New York City. Her films include: Sharp Edges; Belly Talkers; A World Within; That Way Madness Lies…
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