Straight Up Impact Launches Its Evocative "Meaning In Madness" Short Film Series With May 20th Release Of "Mackenzie" On YouTube
Renowned Spoken Word Artist and Filmmaker Prince Ea Hosts the Free Launch Event Bringing Insight Into How the Current Industrialized Education System is Contributing to Youth Depression, Anxiety and Suicide
LOS ANGELES, May 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Straight Up Impact, a woman-owned, fully integrated media company, today announced the forthcoming release of its film, "Mackenzie," the first in a three-part "Meaning in Madness" short documentary film series, which will launch at 5 p.m. PDT on May 20 during an event that is open and free to everyone on YouTube. The series examines some of the systemic issues that are contributing to the staggering rates of teenage depression, anxiety, and suicide.
"Mackenzie" documents the real-life experiences of 17-year-old high school student Mackenzie as she struggles to keep up and perform well in her high-achieving school while privately coping with the accompanying depressive feeling that "my worth is a number out of 100." Throughout the nearly 12-minute film, Mackenzie humanizes the anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide that she and other teens face during their key developmental years in an industrialized learning environment that devalues an individual's search for personalized meaning.
"There were moments when I thought suicide was the way out," Mackenzie confesses in the film despite the presence in her life of a supportive family and passion for activities like surfing and water polo. "If the system had less of a solely performance-based mindset, I think people would be better off. If they were preparing kids to choose instead of choosing for them."
Young people are suffering from depression and anxiety at ever-increasing rates. Between 2009 and 2017, rates of depression among kids ages 14 to 17 increased by more than 60 percent and doubled among those age 20 to 21, according to a study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. At the same time, suicide has become the second leading cause of death for Americans aged 15 to 24, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
In the film that bears her name, Mackenzie recalls in one powerful and emotional scene how she watched a group of fellow students crowded along a classroom balcony, looking down at a body bag. What they all saw: a classmate had just jumped off a cliff near their public school because he felt "like no one was listening."
Produced by Straight up Impact, the bold, three-part documentary film series "Meaning in Madness" is designed to expose three main systemic issues: industrialized education, the over-prescription of mind-altering and addictive pharmaceuticals, and the hyper-focus on social media. "Mackenzie" was directed by Matthew Ogens, who earned three Emmy Award nominations for work he directed for two original ESPN series.
With the launch of "Mackenzie," the filmmakers seek to spark a conversation and ignite a movement to better support teens and inspire community-based change.
"We're honored to share our film for the first time and to partner with so many talented and like-minded artists to bring our mission to life," said producers and Straight Up Impact co-founders Kate Cohen, Marisa Polvino and Pam Roy. "Above all else, we're so grateful to Mackenzie for bravely stepping forward to share her story in the hopes that it inspires more parents and children to find their true life's purpose by exploring pursuits beyond the walls of what our formalized education system now offers."
World-renowned expert on creative thinking (whose TED Talk "Do Schools Kill Creativity?" has received the most views in TED history) Sir Ken Robinson and his daughter Kate serve as executive producers on the film.
Prince Ea, who became a viral sensation with his spoken world film "I Just Sued the School System," watched on YouTube more than 23 million times, will host the event that will also include several discussion panels.
Those who tune into the hour-long event on YouTube also will be able to watch a few panels, as well as insights from Alexander Vesely-Frankl, a licensed psychotherapist and grandson of the late Viktor Frankl (renowned psychiatrist and author of the best-selling book Man's Search for Meaning). He is also co-founder of the Viktor E. Frankl Institute of America. The filmmakers' efforts are rooted in the acclaimed work of Frankl, who pioneered logotherapy, a "healing through meaning" approach. In the making of "Mackenzie" and development of the "Meaning in Madness" series, the producers collaborated with Vesely-Frankl.
Straight Up Impact is scheduled to begin production in April 2021 on the second short film in the series, "Luna," which follows a 15-year-old girl who shares her experience growing up while being prescribed psychiatric medication since the age of eight.
To sign up for the screening, visit www.straight-up-impact.com. Following the screening, the film will be available for viewing on Straight Up Impact's YouTube channel.
About Straight Up Impact Straight Up Impact is a spinoff of Straight Up Films, and it finances, develops and produces thought-provoking stories that inspire audiences to enact positive change. Straight Up Films Founders Kate Cohen and Marisa Polvino have partnered with strategist and financier Pam Roy to lead this woman-owned company, which will focus on releasing a wide variety of content, including feature films, series, documentaries and short films. For more information, visit www.straight-up-impact.com.