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1.

Living the Roller-Coaster

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Living the Roller-Coaster explores the experiences of two young women attending Stanford University who were diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Through their voices and those of family and friends, the documentary describes mania and depression as well as their common interpersonal ramifications. Among details provided is the fact that the onset of illness is typically between the ages of 18 and 21. For this reason, the film provides a particularly relevant introduction for college students and other young people about a condition that remains misunderstood despite its prevalence.
Online
2007
2.

Today's Man

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Director Lizzie Gottlieb began filming her brother Nicky when he was 21 and had just been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome - a high functioning form of autism. She sets out to try to understand this disorder and its effects on her brother and her family. The big question for all of them is whether Nicky will be able to live an independent life. Nicky is a young man of remarkable talents and great charm. At the age of three, he became fluent in Italian in two weeks, and could tell you the day of the week of any date in the last century or the next. However, as a child, and now as an adult, his speech is often peculiar, his interests obsessive, and his interactions odd. He lacks an understanding of what is socially acceptable, and can often behave wildly inappropriately. But he is witt [...]
Online
2007
3.

Make Me Normal: Autistic Teenagers Speak Out

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Roxanne appears to be a typical teenage girl who is into music and clothes but she is unable to make friends because her autism leads to inappropriate behavior. Moneer, a 12-year-old boy with Asperger's Syndrome, is smart and outgoing but is prone to violent behavior. Roy is compulsive about the labels on his video collection and is easily thrown by change. Esther is a loner. All four are pupils at the Spa School in England, a state school for pupils with autism. These compelling profiles capture the frustration of young people who are aware of their disability but cannot overcome it. The patience and sensitivity of the professional staff is directed at helping the young people interact better with the outside world. This film is an important resource for people working with the autistic.
Online
2007
4.

Sunny Intervals and Showers - Living With Bipolar Disorder

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Dr. Allan Levi is suspended from work and in trouble at home due to his episodes of manic depressive illness (Bipolar Disorder). Filmed in the year after Allan's diagnosis, Sunny Intervals is an intimate and ironic portrait of a marriage and a family in crisis. Endearing yet self-obsessed, Allan leaves a career as a medical researcher and university professor to start a business selling model airplanes .His wife, Jackie, a doctor, struggles to come to terms with the unexpected role of being a "caregiver" for a mentally ill husband. But is Allan's increasingly frenetic lifestyle evidence of illness, eccentricity or simply hard work? An observational documentary, the film depicts one man's -- and one family's -- life with warmth, humor, and poignancy. Rather than being told what to thi [...]
Online
2006
5.

Lila: Eight to Thirteen

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Lila: Eight to Thirteen follows one strong, open, lively girl as she navigates the passage from preadolescence to adolescence. Preadolescense, the pivotal time when puberty begins, is a crucial period which has been often overlooked in coming-of-age films. This charming film celebrates Lila's resilience in the face of pressures from within herself and from the outside as she struggles to retain her identity. Filmed over a six-year period, Lila grew out of a unique relationship between filmmaker and subject. The style is intimate and personal, inviting us into Lila's inner world as she reveals thoughts she can t say even to her parents. The setting moves back and forth from the family's tiny apartment in New York City to a trailer in the bucolic, lovely Upper Delaware Valley. We follo [...]
Online
2004
6.

Aging Out

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Navigating the transition from adolescence to adulthood is challenging for even the most mature and privileged youth. For three young people in New York and Los Angeles, making the transition to independent living is considerably more difficult as they "age out" of the foster care system. They suddenly discover that they're on their own for the first time. Aging Out chronicles the daunting obstacles that these veterans of foster care encounter as they are forced to fend for themselves. Daniella Anderson juggles her college career with the hard reality of raising her newborn child and paying her bills. David Griffin leaves foster care for the streets, goes on a self-destructive drug and crime binge, copes with homelessness and incarceration, and eventually moves to Alaska with the hop [...]
Online
2004
7.

Living Positive: Women and AIDS

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Living Positive examines the lives of five HIV/AIDS diagnosed women from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds (African-American, Latino and Caucasian). What is unique about this film is that it highlights everyday women who just happened to fall into misfortune. It could happen to anyone. The film follows the women over the course of four years. It explores important life lessons about love, strength, empowerment and learning to have faith in oneself. It is about the women s fears, triumphs, families, respective ethnic communities and what life is like for them day to day. Through their stories we come to understand how they have grown from a place of fear to a place where they appreciate the beauty of life and strive to live each day fully. By the end, we learn how to pre [...]
Online
2001
8.

A School for Robin - Mainstreaming an Autistic Child

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Blonde and sturdy, Robin is four when he first enrolls in a regular school program under Public Law 94-142 which guarantees him a free public school education. Activities which are easy for other kids are enormously difficult for him, such as using a swing or learning to clap his hands. He is withdrawn but the staff perseveres, pushing through his resistance. His teachers, finding him a real challenge, become deeply committed to helping him. He appears far happier and less remote than when he first came to school. When it is time for him to move on to another school, his teachers are sad to see him go.
Online
1996
9.

Manic

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Manic is a dramatized case study about the devastating illness known as manic depression and the chaos it can visit upon the lives of all those touched by it. Co-written by psychiatrist Dr. David Dawson, and superbly acted, the trauma of manic depression comes movingly to life. Alan, a university professor, devoted husband and father of two teenagers, has started behaving strangely. As the story opens, he has disappeared for two days and appears to be in a suicidal state of mind. After consulting a psychiatrist he is given anti-depressants and seems to be responding to therapy, until at a university faculty party, he becomes aggressive, bombastic and crude. Further hyperactive behavior alienates his family and colleagues and when he loses control in a classroom the campus police inte [...]
Online
1995