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Out of the Shadow

When documentary filmmaker Susan Smiley decided she was finally ready to turn the camera on her own family, the result became Out of the Shadow, the story of her family's secret struggle to deal with her mother's schizophrenia within the confines of the public health system.

This film is a story of madness and dignity, shame and love, illuminating a national plight through one family's journey.

Out of the Shadow premiered at SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival. Since then it has toured festivals across the United States, and after its international premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival, it is now being screened around the world. It offers unprecedented insights in mental illness, and is dispelling stigma and misconceptions surrounding this harrowing and often confusing illness. 

Out of the Shadow is a provocative and courageous film which is also having a tremendous impact on mental health communities nationwide, providing much-needed insights to psychiatrists, case managers, social workers, educators, consumers and their families. Advocacy organizations such as NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and MHA (Mental Health America) have hailed the film as a critical tool for raising public awareness and have sponsored hundreds of screenings nationwide. 

The film won NAMI's prestigious 2006 Media Award, and is a FREDDIE Award Finalist. The film is also educating policy makers about the realities, issues and needs of America's severely mentally ill population. Screenings for policymakers have been held in Washington, D.C., Sacramento, CA, Albany, NY, and Springfield, IL.

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