Show #6 Madness and Mindfulness: The 8mm Film of Ken Paul Rosenthal (Feb. 13)

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Our guest this week was award winning filmmaker Ken Paul Rosenthal who is completing a ken_paul_rosenthal_headshottrilogy of beautiful and provocative short documentary films that re-envision the way we think and speak about our individual and collective mental health in today’s chaotic world. Using his own home movies from childhood, and mental Hygene films from decades past, the trilogy offers transformational content that offers new hope.
As an educator and activist , Ken makes films that exist as works of art and also function as tools for personal and societal transformation. His current projects are poetic mental health documentaries that weave personal and political narratives through natural and urban landscapes, home movies, and archival mental hygiene films.
Mad Dance The Mental Health Film Trilogy includes: For Shadows, In Light, In! and Crooked Beauty.
For Shadows (15 minutes) unearths the tangled roots of self-harm from the home movies of a child’s formative years. It consists entirely of home movies from the first five years of Ken’s life. We will take a close look at what the film is about, what the home movies brought to the surface, and what challenges specific to this project are unique to working with home movies.
In Light, In! (*formerly ‘A Movement’, 12 minutes) is a darkly humorous, yet ultimately hopeful commentary on the pervasive disease model of mental illness in Western Culture. Images recycled from archival mental health films—doctors in lab coats, patients in distress, and invasive strategies of mainstream psychiatry—will be edited to original cello compositions by world renowned cellist, Zoe Keating.
Crooked Beauty (30 minutes) is a poetic documentary that chronicles 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.

Ken Paul Rosenthal boat smallKen Paul Rosenthal Bio:
Ken holds an MA in Creative & Interdisciplinary Arts and an MFA in Cinema Production, and has taught film as a means of cultivating personal vision in workshops and universities in North America and abroad. His most recent film, Crooked Beauty, has been invited to 35 film festivals, won 16 awards, and been presented in person at dozens of peer support networks, hospitals, universities, mental health symposia and community events worldwide. He is the recipient of a Kodak Cinematography Award, numerous festival awards, and frequently recognized for his media work in mental health advocacy.
Over 2,500 Crooked Beauty DVDs have been distributed to date, including 160 academic libraries. Ken is currently in production on Mad Dance, a trilogy of provocative short documentary films that re-envision the way we think and speak about our individual and collective mental health in today’s chaotic world. It will include newly translated version of Crooked Beauty in Spanish, French, German, Italian and Hebrew.
To connect with Ken, or find out more information, go to:
watch the trailer

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