One of Five: Families Coping with Mental Disorders

Here are inspiring portraits of five families, each caring for an emotionally handicapped, or alcohol-addicted member. The love the family members feel for their disabled relatives is evident, as the film shows the joy, as well as the burdens their care imposes.

Gammi is an elderly African American woman with Alzheimer's disease. Her family members are tolerant of her repetitive and often senseless babbling. They stroke and comfort her, and laugh fondly at her foibles.

Michael is an eight-year-old with Downs' syndrome. His mother, who already had two children, knew ahead of time that she would have a disabled child and chose not to abort. The family does not regret the decision, and, in fact, feels Michael is an important part of their lives.

Shane is an impoverished teenager from Appalachia. His father left the family when he was young and his mother is a recovering alcoholic. Jenny, a college student, also has an alcoholic parent. It has not been easy for her to deal with confronting her mother about her alcoholism. Dale is a middle-aged paranoid schizophrenic. The family accepts the fact that he sometimes has bizarre visions.

In a society in which multitudes of people share similar mental disorders and are abandoned by their families or their communities, these portraits are a reminder that patience and fortitude bring their own satisfactions.


Best Non-Fiction Short, Chicago/IFP Film Festival, 2003
Best Documentary, OUStuff, 2003
Next Frame Festival, 2003
Long Beach International Film Festival
Cleveland International Film Festival
Iowa City International Documentary Festival


"This film provides a glimpse into the lives of five extraordinary people and their families. For both my peers in the classroom, and the individuals I serve, it is remarkable, inspiring and truly educational." Dan Brozak, Case Manager, Tri-County Mental Health and Counseling Services

"...artfully allows the viewer to see the common threads that bind us all." Amy Reinhardt, Exec. Dir., Big Brothers Big Sisters of Athens County

" Highly Recommended. Although a short film, it adequately conveys a range of emotions of family memebers from realistic loss and sadness to sense of hope grounded i love. The film is an excellemt addition for collections in psychology and social work." Carolyn Walden, University of Alabama at Birmingham for Educational Media Reviews Online

One of Five: Families Coping with Mental Disorders


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