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US Writer/Director to Attend Film Viewing in Wgtn

1 September 2008 Press Release

US Writer/Director Joseph Greco to Attend Film Viewing in Wellington

On Friday 5 September, US film writer/ director Joseph Greco will attend a Wellington viewing of his award winning film Canvas, hosted by Schizophrenia Fellowship New Zealand (SFNZ). Greco will be flying in from the States to attend this special occasion.

Canvas is the semi autobiographical account of a young boy growing up with a mother who has Schizophrenia. The film follows the life of 10-year-old Chris Marino (Devon Geerhart), who just wants a “normal” childhood, but his mother’s (Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden) bouts of psychosis turns his world upside-down. Chris’ father John (Joe Pantoliano – Soporanos/The Matrix) holds the family together as best he can as the relationship between father and son starts to disintegrate.

Canvas has won a host of awards including “Best Feature Film” at the Sedona International Film Festival, and “Outstanding Media Award” from the US National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), for its “accurate, compassionate and humanistic portrayal of schizophrenia”. Greco’s other award winning films include Lena’s Spaghetti, and he worked with James Cameron on the filming of Titanic.

SFNZ considers Canvas to be a “refreshingly accurate portrayal of how mental illness can often unhinge a family structure”.

The viewing of Canvas will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Greco ─ whose own mother had Schizophrenia. The panellists will discuss the challenges facing children who grow up with parents who have a mental illness. The audience will be made up of families from across NZ who will be given the opportunity to question Greco about the film and his experiences.

According to SFNZ Chief Executive Florence Leota “The children of parents with mental illness are often left voiceless and vulnerable. That is why SFNZ is hosting a viewing of Canvas ─ there are issues which need to be raised in the public arena.

“We have children that need support, and it is difficult for them to ask for help as they don’t know where to go, or in some cases, recognise that they need help. Growing up for them is far more complex as they face challenges that can leave them feeling neglected and isolated” concluded Florence Leota

The viewing of Canvas kicks off a three day National Mental Illness Summit, hosted by SFNZ. The Summit theme is ‘Families Meeting the Challenges of Mental Illness”. Families, clinicians, policy makers and mental health sector workers will travel from across New Zealand to Wellington, to highlight the important role that families can play in the recovery process of people living with mental illness.

As well as the Canvas viewing, The Summit will feature international Keynote Speakers, over 20 workshops and a Political Forum which the main political parties will attend and state their mental health policies.


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