Fax from Albany
May 6, 2005
Board Members, Affiliate Executive Directors, Interested Parties
Glenn D. Liebman, CEO
Michael Seereiter, Director of Public Policy
(518) 434-0439 ext. 20
Timothy’s Birthday Events: Several regions throughout the
state held similar events to the one held in Albany, yesterday, to commemorate
what would have been the 17th birthday of Timothy O’Clair. Below
is the Timothy’s Law Campaign press release from yesterday’s
event on the steps of the NYS Capitol.
Law Advocates Release Balloons with
‘Messages to Timothy’
O’Clair, lost to suicide 4 years ago, would have been 17 today
at the steps of the NYS Capitol in Albany, Timothy’s Law supporters
today celebrated what would have been the 17th birthday of Timothy O’Clair,
the Schenectady, NY boy who took his own life 4 years ago after his
parents were unable to get him the mental health services he needed.
Supporters wrote messages to Timothy on helium filled balloons, which
were then released skyward from locations throughout the state. Those
messages consisted mostly of the support of millions of New Yorkers
to enact the legislation named in Timothy’s memory – legislation
that would end discrimination in insurance coverage for people with
mental health and addiction needs.
current law, health insurance plans restrict the amount of coverage
they provide or charge higher co-payments for mental health and addiction
services than they do for other physical health services. Tom and Donna
O’Clair struggled for nearly 5 years to get Timothy the services
he needed. However, due to these mental health service restrictions,
they were forced to ration the care that Timothy so desperately needed.
As a result of this insufficient treatment, Timothy O’Clair hanged
himself in his bedroom closet at the age of 12.
Timothy’s Law would require health insurance policies to provide
mental health and addiction services equally to the other physical health
services they provide. This would allow those with the most severe mental
health and addiction needs to access services as long as it is medically
necessary. Such additional coverage has been estimated, based on the
experience of 34 other states and the Federal government in providing
parity-based mental health and addiction services, to cost an additional
$1.26 per person per month – what equates to the price for a cup
Law supporters from throughout the region came together today to mark
Timothy’s birthday, as others in various locations throughout
the state did the same. Here in Albany, Timothy’s father, Tom
O’Clair, stood at the steps of the NYS Capitol, saying that he
could feel the support of those gathering in other locations statewide.
that we are not alone in this fight to enact Timothy’s Law gives
me great comfort,” O’Clair said. “I can feel the support
of those releasing balloons with messages to my son.
can only imagine how it looks from Timothy’s perspective, seeing
hundreds, probably thousands of balloons rising from locations all over
New York State toward his vantage point in heaven,” O’Clair
Fundraiser - Great Success: On May 3rd, MHANYS presented our first
movie fundraiser - Maangamzi—The Ancient One. This was a
very compelling story about the relationship that develops between an
American psychiatrist and a woman who has been in a psychiatric facility
in Tanzania for the past twenty years.
was a wonderful way to announce May as mental health month. A large crowd
filled the Spectrum Theater in Albany to watch the movie and then take
the opportunity to talk with the movie’s director/producer Ron Mulvihill.
Mr. Mulvihill was a terrific speaker and people stayed for hours afterwards
for the opportunity to talk with him about the creation of the movie.
from the fundraising aspect of the evening, the showing of the movie was
a wonderful way to expand the horizons of our organization. A large contingent
of people attended from the African community in the area and we had the
opportunity to talk to them about the work of the Mental Health Association
and our 31 affiliates.
addition, due to the tireless efforts of MHANYS’ Board Fundraising
Committee Chair, Susan Murante, we made over a dozen radio and television
appearances over the last few weeks promoting May as mental health month
and talking about the work of the Mental Health Association, our anti-stigma
efforts and Timothy’s Law. Following in the In The News section,
there is an editorial and article on the movie,
thanks are due to Susan Murante who dedicated a great deal of time and
energy to insure the success of the movie. We would also like to thank
the movie’s producer/director Ron Mulvihill for making the evening
so successful as well as the many board members and staff, especially
our administrative assistant Lillian Lasher, for helping to make the evening
such a huge success.
look forward to many more of these events in the future.
ANNUAL WALK FOR MENTAL HEALTH:
is Mental Health Awareness Month
Week of May 14 – May 20, 2005
you are interested in participating, please contact Ann or Alexandra -
e-mail the Walk Committee at email@example.com,
or call Ann at (845) 566-0810 or Ali at (845) 703-1042 and they will connect
you with the agency coordinating the walk in your region.
SUICIDE PREVENTION CENTER'S
7th Annual HOPE Candlelight Vigil
May 19, 2005, 6:00-9:00 P.M.
you are sorrowful look again in your heart,
and you shall see that in truth you are weeping
for that which has been your delight. ~Kahlil Gibran
May 19th, Samaritans Suicide Prevention Center will hold its 7th annual
candlelight vigil on the steps of the NYS Capitol in Albany.
event not only memorializes the lives that have been tragically lost to
suicide (through the faces on the NYS 1998 - 2005 LifeKeeper Memory
Quilts), but will also work to save future lives through sharing,
courage, and the commitment to the prevention of suicide. In addition,
the Vigil serves to recognize those individuals dedicated to the prevention
of suicide through the Annual LifeKeeper Memory Award. This year’s
LifeKeeper Awards will be presented to NYS Office of Mental Health
Commissioner Sharon Carpinello and Associate Director of Clinical Operations
for the Albany County Department of Mental Health, Bill Dickson.
more information, go to http://www.timesunion.com/communities/samaritans/,
or call (518) 689-0080.
for psych care - Pol, doc want mental health coverage expanded. By
New York Daily News, May 6, 2005
coalition of politicians and health care providers pushed yesterday for
passage of a law named for a young suicide victim whose insurance lacked
adequate mental-health coverage.
gathered on what would have been Timothy O'Clair's 17th birthday. The
Schenectady boy committed suicide at age 12 after suffering from depression
for years while his family was denied adequate mental health insurance
is National Mental Health Month, and the coalition brought together at
the Bronx Psychiatric Center yesterday by state Sen. Jeff Klein and Dr.
Derek Suite of Full Circle Health called on Senate Majority Leader Joe
Bruno to pass a Timothy's Law as previously passed by the state Assembly.
insurance plans only pay for 20 visits a year, and co-payments for mental
health care are as high as 50% of the customary fee to see a doctor.
high co-pays, once patients reach their visit limits, it is prohibitive
for many to afford much-needed mental health services.
in the Bronx and Westchester, families and their employers spend an enormous
amount of money on health insurance coverage, but mental illness is not
covered adequately, and so families are left to pay the bills," said
Klein (D-North Bronx).
is time to pass Timothy's Law so our health care system can address mental
illness and substance abuse, which cause great pain to families, and cost
our businesses billions of dollars in lost productivity."
law would eliminate discriminatory and unequal mental health and substance
abuse coverage by insurance companies.
doctors, nurses and counselors have worked hard to erase the stigma attached
to mental illness so that we can get to the important business of healing,"
Suite said. "Mental health treatment can literally be a life-saver,
and that's why we need Timothy's Law: to make sure that treatment is available
to the people who need it."
costs of care for mentally ill. Letter to the Editor
May 1, 2005
the United States, 53 million people experience mental illness each year,
and one in five families is affected by a loved one's serious mental illness.
Today begins Mental Health Month, so you're sure to hear more statistics
like these for the next 30 days. You can expect to see their softer side
in made-for-TV movies, public service announcements and celebrity interviews.
Those stories are intended to tug at your heart and to make you care about
mothers with depression, fathers with anxiety, adolescents on the brink
of suicide and children who suffer with mental illness.
Albany, we'll also see lobbying. The top issue is insurance parity for
treatment of mental health problems. Again families will tell heartbreaking
stories, but the truth is mental health care is also an issue of dollars
first glance, it does seem heartless to not include mental health coverage
equal to other coverage. The stories of folks who can't get help are tragic,
and years of research shows that early treatment and therapy do have great
outcomes. So why not save lives and families by legislating parity?
say parity won't increase costs that much and that treating mental illness
isn't expensive. However, there is a bigger story.
In the United States today, half of all visits to primary care physicians
are for conditions caused or exacerbated by mental health problems, and
more hospital beds (23 percent of all beds) are occupied by people with
mental illness than with any other disease. Thus the expenses already
exist, but they're poorly managed and a lot more costly as a result.
people are afraid that parity legislation will increase health care costs.
Anyone with a full-time job knows that when the insurer's cost goes up,
the employer's costs rise and that faster then you can say "manic
depressive disorder," those costs will show up in what employees
pay for health care. So we have to think through this parity thing. Why,
sad stories aside, would we want to pay more for health care?
we have to look at all of the numbers in this debate and there are a few
that often get left out. Here is a small part of the much bigger picture:
year, more than 1 million young people enter the juvenile justice system,
with more than 125,000 placed in correctional facilities. Studies consistently
find the rate of mental disorders is three times higher in that juvenile
population than among the same age group in the general population, so
we know that treatment for mental illness is showing up late and more
expensively there. We also know that more than one-third of all homeless
people have a mental illness, and that prisons too are housing the mentally
there's more. Serious depression is the No. 3 cause of poor performance
and absenteeism in the workplace. Fortune Magazine reported that the cost
of mental illness in business, including lost productivity and earnings,
is estimated to be $148 billion each year. So we're already paying for
mental illness. We pay in business, in social services, through Medicaid,
in programs for the homeless and in the skyrocketing budgets for juvenile
justice, law enforcement and the corrections system. Maybe the question
isn't should we pay, but which pocket we pay from.
choice -- as taxpayers -- is whether we want to pay for mental illness
through a convoluted and inefficient series of last-gasp interventions
by way of Medicaid, welfare and the criminal justice system, or to choose
a financial strategy that is more effective, with better, cheaper outcomes
for the whole community.
bottom line in mental health parity is just that: better and cheaper outcomes.
You don't even have to care; you only have to count.
Cameron is a Capital Region writer. She previously worked in the mental
health field. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
say proposal is too costly. By James Schlett
Daily Gazette May 5, 2005
want exemption from Timothy’s Law
spread could not have been any thinner or more insurmountable for Scott
Stevens, president of Dimension Fabricators Inc. in Schenectady.
New Jersey Department of Transportation Monday notified Stevens that the
Maxon Road steel part maker lost a bid for a $60,000 bridge project in
Newark. Another manufacturer won the project offering the state steel
bridge parts for $189 each, $6 less than Dimension’s final offer.
factors played into Dimension’s inability to beat that competitor’s
bid, from property taxes to wages and health care costs.
with New York lawmakers considering a proposal to prohibit insurance plans
from excluding or limiting benefits for mental health care, that $6 spread
may become an almost abysmal rift, Stevens said.
got to watch them because it’s chipping away at our business’
ability to be competitive," Chamber of Schenectady County President
Charles Steiner said of New York’s 42 insurance mandates.
Steiner and several other small business representatives and owners Wednesday
tried to head off the economic impacts of the insurance legislation. They
called on lawmakers to exempt businesses with fewer than 50 workers from
the mental health mandate.
small business’ opposition to the mandate pits them against a two-year-old
Assembly bill named after a Rotterdam 12-year-old, Timothy O’Clair,
who committed suicide in 2001.
the Legislature will soon focus on what mental health advocates have dubbed
Timothy’s Law, three major New York small business associations
mounted opposition to the proposal that would increase premiums by 1 to
Stevens, the mandate may make him pay an additional $400 monthly to cover
the 28 employees insured at Dimension. The steel fabricator will spend
$150,000 on health insurance this year. It employs 35 people.
is more than an economic issue. This is a discriminatory issue,"
said Michael Seereiter, director of public policy for the Mental Health
Association of New York State.
states have mental health parity mandates and 18 of them have small business
coverage exemptions. New York has the fourth most mandates in the country.
hands are getting tied further and further behind our backs," Stevens
small business associations are concerned about legislation sponsored
by Assemblyman Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam. They support a bill sponsored
by Sen. Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton. That Senate bill includes the fewer-than-50-worker
exemption and covers biologically related disorders, such as schizophrenia.
Timothy’s Law bill lacks the small business exemption and includes
coverage for addictions, biologically related disorders and any other
psychological disorder ranging from phobias to mood disorders.
Law would prohibit insurance companies from having caps on mental health
care treatments, which are commonly limited to 30 inpatient visits and
20 outpatient ones annually. Coverage for cancer and other illnesses lack
would make the playing field level for people with mental illnesses and
addictions," said Seereiter.
houses last year passed different mental health mandate bills, but only
Tonko’s legislation has the support of the Timothy’s Law Campaign,
which includes 400 mental health advocacy groups.
small business associations fear Timothy’s Law would make it too
difficult for small businesses to provide their employees with health
coverage. The Mental Health Association does not believe the mandate would
be financially burdensome, costing employers $1.26 monthly per employee.
number of businesses with fewer than 50 employees that offer health coverage
in New York dropped to 47.6 percent in 2002 from 53.6 percent two years
earlier, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
struggling with the system as it is today, because the costs are driving
us under," said Mark Alesse, president of NFIB, which represents
20,000 small businesses statewide.
NFIB, Support Services Association and Business Council of New York State
are backing the small business mandate exemption. The last insurance mandate
adopted by New York came in 2003 and was for infertility services.
the Stigma. Editorial
Altamont Enterprise, April 21, 2005
of Americans with serious mental illness refuse to seek treatment, according
to the President's New Freedom Commission report.
stigma of metal illness is cited as one of the major reasons.
Mental Health Association in New York State is working to lift that stigma.
thing the association is doing is holding a special screening of Maangamizi
- The Ancient One on May 3 at Albany's Spectrum 8 Theatres at 290
association is showing the film both to raise funds and to raise consciousness.
Proceeds will go to an anti-discrimination program run by the association.
Murante, who has worked as a volunteer for the association for 20 years,
said of the film, "I found it very powerful…It raises your
awareness; it gives you hope there's a possibility for healing…Because
there's such a stigma with mental illness, a lot of people are in denial."
stigma hits close to home for Murante; a family member suffers from manic
wants to turn their back on mental health," Murante said. "We
need to turn that around."
a society we congratulate ourselves on being modern and progressive. We
look back with horror or superior arrogance at early civilizations where
pagan priests performed rituals to banish the "devils" that
we now recognize as mental illness.
in the Middle Ages, beatings, starvation, and other tortures were used
to drive the devils out of a sick person's body. As late as the 1600's,
the mentally ill were still tortured or put to death as witches, or chained
how far have we really come if those with mental illness are still discriminated
against and shunned? And if those who are ill don't seek treatment for
fear of being stigmatized?
Liebman, the chief executive officer for the Mental Health Association
in New York State, said the stigma is perpetuated through stereotypes
and through the media.
with mental illness are portrayed as crazy and referred to as loony. Most
are doing their best to try to live productive lives," said Liebman.
"Most are not violent or aggressive."
pointed to pop culture items that support the harmful stereotype. "There's
nothing funny about T-shirts that say 'psych ward'," he said. "The
Vermont Teddy Bear Company had a crazy bear - like crazy in love - for
Valentine's Day that came with its own commitment papers."
went on, "we're one of the few populations about whom people feel
they can be openly critical and make jokes."
kind of discrimination makes people who are mentally ill eschew treatment,
he said. "Only one out of two people with a serious mental illness
- like clinical depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia - will
enter the mental health system."
most recent statistics, he said, show that one out of five will suffer
some form of mental illness in their lives.
means mental illness will probably affect each one of us or someone we
love at some time.
would be wise to be understanding.
could start by taking an evening to watch an interesting movie and support
a good cause.
loved this movie," Liebman said of Murante when asked why Maangamizi
was selected. "It's not your classic mental-health movie. It's more
about the human spirit; it gives you a vision of hope and recovery."
seeing the film, though, we can each of us, make a difference by treating
those who are mentally ill with respect.
a year ago, we praised a Voorheesville man, William Kinisky, for his courage
in speaking out about his illness, bipolar disorder. We wrote about his
quest for a Habitat for Humanity home. Although many in our community
suffer from mental illness, very few are willing to put their story in
why we so admire William Kinisky. The Voorheesville native is not only
dealing successfully with his illness, he was willing to talk about it
with his community.
didn't mince words when he described the depression that had plagued him
since he was a teenager. He was hospitalized many times, and lost much
- his marriage, his children, and three good jobs. Finally, he found what
he called the right "recipe," including counseling and daily
medication to balance his life.
no longer contemplates killing himself; his highs and lows have evened
out. He works two part-time jobs and his two teenage sons are living with
believe there are many such success stories in our midst, but they are
we interview family members for obituaries, people often tell us how their
father or sister or grandmother or brother suffered form mental illness,
but they never want us to write about it. We tell them it's part of a
person's life and recording it, especially if the person was able to achieve
despite it, could inspire others.
they most often say, you can't mention it.
in a while, when we write of a public figure or an occasion when there's
an award honoring someone, that person will tell us of his or her mental
illness. But they don't want to see it in print.
they most often say, people wouldn't understand.
stigma will only be lifted, the taboo will only be broken, if those who
suffer from mental illness are willing to talk about it.
our pages, people have talked - in obituaries and in news stories and
features - about being recovering alcoholics, about battling cancer, and
about a wide range of other illnesses. But they won't talk about mental
illness. They feel it would reduce their standing in the community, that
it would jeopardize their future, and they may be right.
Spellos, who has worked in the mental health field for nearly three decades,
told us last year that mental patients face a great deal of discrimination,
behavior they wouldn't be subject to if they had other health problems.
Dr. Cynthia Wible, a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School, disputed
the common misperception that people with mental illnesses are dangerous.
She told us these disorders do not make people violent or inclined to
says people have a skewed perception of mental illness because it ends
up in the news only when someone with mental illness commits a violent
crime, but there are plenty of people successfully dealing with their
believe her. It's time we stopped laughing at mental illness; and it's
time we stopped cringing. Let us try to recognize our differences and
value each human being.
says, "May your lives be filled with compassion and love." If
we can't get that far, let us at least stop the fear and hatred.
an indie ‘film about truth’ - Queenae and Ron Mulvihill put
their livelihood on the line…Telling of The Ancient One who guides
the way to healing. By Melissa Hale-Spencer
Altamont Enterprise, April 21, 2005
Ron Mulvihill was a college kid, he studied in Kenya.
was an American who got uprooted,” he said. “I ended up in
Africa. It turned my life upside down. Everything I knew, or thought I
knew, about Africa was a lie.”
he said, don’t understand the cultures of Africa or the love the
African people have. He described himself as a white man “with an
became a filmmaker. His film, Maangamizi – The Ancient One,
is the first feature movie to be filmed in Swahili, an African language,
and it was Tanzania’s first entry in the Academy Awards’ Best
Foreign Language competition.
will make its local debut at the Spectrum 8 Theatres in Albany on May
3, as a benefit for the Mental Health Association in New York State. Mulvihill
will speak about the film following the screening.
has put $150,000 worth of debt on his credit cards to produce the film,
and all of the cast and crew have gone without pay, he said, until the
critically-acclaimed film, which he is just starting to self-distribute,
makes enough money.
one’s been paid yet. When I make good on my contracts, it will be
about $1 million,” Mulvihill said of the cost of making the film.
The cast and crew deferred their salaries, he said, because “they
loved it; they loved the spirit of the story.”
had the backing of small investors. “The Tanzanian investors helped
with local expenses and food,” he said during a phone interview
from California, where he lives.
dream is to release it in East Africa,” he said.
Africa, cinema was only for the elite,” Mulvihill explained. “Most
theaters have died because people couldn’t afford to go. The films
were Indian or B American movies.”
envisions traveling cross-country, showing the film “on the big
screen” at soccer stadiums, charging just 25 cents or 50 cents for
would be a novel thing,” he said. “People would see themselves,
people speaking Swahili, in a movie for the first time… In Africa,
the market has been ignored.”
made his first African film when he was an exchange student at the University
of Nairobi. The documentary was about his roommate’s family in rural
Kenya, where the African family, rather than an outsider, gave the narration
– a first, he said.
went on to film school at UCLA in 1982, where he met the woman who would
become his wife – Queenae Taylor, an African American.
went off to shoot my thesis film on alternative medicine, but I couldn’t
get funding,” he said. “Kenya had outlawed traditional medicine
as witchcraft. Tanzania was using it in their hospitals,” along
with Western medicine, he said.
took Mulvihill years to make the film because of upheaval in the Tanzanian
government. “The country’s infrastructure was nonexistent,”
experience did not deter him from returning to Tanzania; rather, it inspired
wife wrote the screenplay for what would become Maangamizi with
Hollywood and white actors in mind. Queenae Taylor Mulvihill called her
screenplay Hecate for the ancient Greek
fertility goddess, and she envisioned Bette Davis in the title role.
had the script and, six months later, she died,” Mulvihill said
Mhando, a veteran Tanzanian-born filmmaker who had produced Mulvihill’s
thesis film, looked at the screenplay. “He said, ‘This is
the most Tanzanian story I ever read,’” recalled Mulvihill.
of the threads of folklore common to Tanzania, he said, are twins having
a pivotal role, children disappearing and coming back after years, and
Taylor Mulvihill and Martin Mhando are the film’s co-producers,
and Ron Mulvihill is its director. Mhando is now based in Australia –
he chairs the media studies department at Perth’s Murdock University
– and the film crew was international.
the original meant-for-Hollywood screenplay and the Tanzanian Maangamizi
have in common is the centrality of the women characters. Stories in the
European tradition have a male and female character at their center –
both of them white: Tristan and Iseult, Lancelot and Guinevere, Romeo
and Juliet. American stories, as literary critic Leslie Fiedler pointed
out, often have two male characters at their center – on white,
on not: Huckleberry Finn and Jim, The Lone Ranger and Tonto, Ishmael and
Queequeg in Moby Dick.
females are squarely at the center of the Mulvihills’ film –
both of them black.
(played by Amandina Lihamba) is a long-time patient at a Tanzanian mental
institution. She has not spoken for decades; she spends sleepless nights
in unhappy wandering, and long days simply gazing out a window.
an African-American psychiatrist (played by BarbaraO), takes a residency
at the institution and is immediately drawn to Samehe.
two meet each other in a stunning scene. Without words, they “change
eyes,” much the way male and female characters would in a Shakespearean
mellow sounds of a marimba play in the background. (The film’s score
was composed by Grammy Award-winning musician Cyril Neville, of the Neville
their long look at each other – as if they peered into each others’
souls – the fates of the two women are intertwined.
there are male characters in the film – a bureaucratic doctor heading
the institution, another doctor and potential suitor of Asira, flashbacks
of Samehe’s Christian preacher father – but those characters
and Samehe’s relationship is at the center of the story, and the
plot is matrilineal. Each of them is close to her grandmother. Asira’s
is a real-life grandmother; she keeps her picture by her bedside. Samehe’s
is the ancient spirit of Maangamizi, the grandmother of all grandmothers.
Both of the women are comforted by memories or visions of their grandmothers
as they remember horrific childhood experiences.
memories unfold in bits and pieces throughout the movie. Samehe was, as
a child, taught the native healing ways by her mother. Her father was
abusive and angry over his child being raised as a “heathen.”
that you come from a place of sin,” says the preacher, her father.
He believes God has chosen to save the African continent from the devil
after, Mulvihill met American novelist Alice Walker through a Somalian
filmmaker; Walker had helped her with her film on female circumcision.
gave her the tape,” said Mulvihill. “She loved it and contributed
has written “Maangamizi – The Ancient One is more than
a movie. It is shocking and profound… It is a way back to who we
still are deep, deep down in our psyches…”
has received recognition at festivals around the world.
were stuck in the black and African film festivals,” said Mulvihill.
“We finally got in the Montreal Film Festival. That’s where
we got a great review from Variety, which helped us get into the
white film festivals.”
2001 review says, “Maangamizi avoids falling into New Age
glibness despite the script’s potentially pandering mix of feminism,
Western psychology, African mysticism and repressed-memory catharsis.”
Dennis Harvey also describes the film as “a rare wade into multicultural
spirituality that’s neither obscure nor oversimplified.”
praising the film, Harvey also predicts its difficult marketing future.
“Given all-black femme-driven cast’s slim marquee value, and
less-than-obviously marketable themes, indie production won’t be
an easy theatrical sell,” he writes, but he also speculates that
grass-roots appeal to specialized audiences “could lead to sleeper
film has been playing in festivals for the last five years. Earlier this
year, Mulvihill said, “We decided to do self-distribution.”
who plays Asira in the film, “went city to city 10 years ago,”
with another film she was in, Mulvihill said. “Her goal is to open
this theatrically in seven cities,” he said.
had originally hoped to get a distributor. “It’s tough in
Hollywood,” he said, “even though we’ve had critical
acclaim. In Hollywood, what they want to know is how you’ve done
financially… We’ve been tied up with this the last five years;
my wife has 10 other scripts.”
says the film’s themes are universal.
it premiered in Japan – and the Japanese don’t usually show
emotion – people came out of the theater in tears,” he said.
character Maangamizi (played by Mwanajuma Ali Hassan) reaches across cultures,
Mulvihill said. “Even those in white audiences say, ‘That
character reminds me of my own grandmother,’” he said.
after the terrorist’s attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the film sold out,
Mulvihill said. “People felt so horrible then and this helped them.
That’s where we got ‘A Film of Hope and Healing,’”
he said, referring to the phrase currently used to publicize Maangamizi.
film has found a particular niche in the mental health field.
“Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival” is held at a progressive
mental institution in Toronto, Mulvihill said.
institution, which has a theater and arts program for patients, has an
annual week-long film festival where patients, staff, and the general
public watch films at a theater in the institution.
patients there responded warmly to Maangamizi, Mulvihill said.
“They felt it showed a side that hadn’t been expressed before,”
psychologist from South Africa whose grandfather had been a traditional
healer “felt the film mirrored her own life,” he said. “She
showed it to one of her patients, a patient she could never reach. Watching
the film, she had a breakthrough,” said Mulvihill. “The hospital
bought copies to use for the staff.”
he said, the National Black Psychologists showed Maangamizi at
their conference and various conference members started ordering it.
a filmmaker, I feel great,” said Mulvihill with a laugh. “I’m
in debt but I did my dream and it’s helping many people.”
next time, we remain,
Working to ensure available and accessible
mental health services for all New Yorkers