Launch Event: Honoring Inspiring Filmmakers

Powerful Stories. Powerfully Told | May 2017 | New York City

Thanks for Helping Us Celebrate!

May 2017, New York City

Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH, Founder and President, Foundation for Art & Healing

The launch events for the Creatively Connected Online Film Festival far exceeded our wildest expectations! What a terrific and meaningful way to recognize the important work from this inspiring group of filmmakers.  As we face a world increasingly distressed and divided, it’s more timely than ever to recognize loneliness and isolation as a critical public health concern. The statistics are alarming: 65% of us will be affected at some point, 35% say they are lonely right now, and loneliness has the mortality equivalent of smoking 18 cigarettes per day.

The Foundation has been exploring the impact of creative expression on reducing the burden of loneliness for those most significantly affected through our UnLoneliness Project (unloneliness.org). Now, as we launch our Creatively Connected Online Film Festival, we’re making powerful storytelling accessible anywhere— from the living room, to the lunchroom, to the classroom. Our goal is to provoke ideas, thoughts, and feelings, while ultimately accelerating authentic and sustained connection through personal and social dialog. We are delighted that you can be with us on this timely journey to creatively connect.

We encourage you to join us on this timely journey to creatively connect. I suggest a good next step would be to subscribe to our Community (leave us your info in the form located in the right column, of like us on Facebook).  And on behalf of our team, partners, and advisors, we’re glad you’re here!

Video Clips from the Event

Creatively Connected Online Film Festival Launch Events

Charles Frank

Victor Okoye

Edythe Hughes

Barbara Ricci

Joshua Smyth, PhD.

Distinguished Co-hosts for the Celebration:

Mike Paseornek, President of Production, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group

“Storytelling for me is more than a business. I have seen just how powerful the sharing of stories about the human condition can be in the process of healing and connecting people. That’s why I am delighted to be part of this unique and timely Film Festival. It was hard to select winners from the wonderful group of films and filmmakers so I encourage everyone to have a look at all the Festival films online.”

Michael Paseornek has been President of Motion Picture Production at Lionsgate since the Company’s inception in 1997. In addition to being a key member of the senior management team that has guided Lionsgate from a startup into a global content leader, Paseornek has overseen production of over 200 films including the Hunger Games franchise and acclaimed films like LaLa Land which received a record 14 Oscar Nominations this year.

Steven M. Safyer MD, President and CEO Montefiore Medicine

“When Montefiore first opened our own Center for Healing Arts several years ago, we could see right away that engagement with the arts and culture had a profound effect on the overall well-being and quality of life of our patients. It is so gratifying to see the Foundation for Art and Healing expand on that knowledge with their fantastic program. Adding film to the mix this year to highlight isolation and loneliness as a real public health problem is a brilliant way to bring people together and raise awareness at the same time. There’s no question that art has the power to heal.”

Steven M. Safyer, MD, is President and Chief Executive Officer of Montefiore Medicine, which consists of Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System, an integrated academic health system of 11 hospitals serving the New York metropolitan region. An accomplished clinician, physician leader, and educator, Dr. Safyer was recognized by Modern Healthcare as 13th on the list of the “50 Most Influential Physician Executives in Healthcare” in March 2016. Dr. Safyer has been at Montefiore since 1982, previously serving as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer.

Special Presenters:

Zubin Eapen, MD, Chief Medical Officer, CareMore Health System

“Senior loneliness is often invisible but has significant health consequences. That’s why we at CareMore are seeking to elevate the issue of loneliness broadly and integrate support into our own clinical model. By using film to unmask the issue, and help us all be more connected, we’re taking one step closer to improving the health and well-being of so many. “

Dr. Zubin Eapen is CareMore’s system-wide chief medical officer (CMO) and leads the organization’s care delivery, clinical strategy, and clinical innovation, driving the continued evolution of the CareMore model to serve complex, high-cost, and high-need patients. Prior to coming to CareMore, Dr. Eapen served as Associate Professor of Medicine of the Division of Cardiology and Medical Director of the Same-Day Access Heart Failure Clinic at Duke University. Dr. Eapen is a member of the American Heart Journal editorial board and the author of numerous medical publications as well as the editor of the 14th edition of Hurst’s The Heart.

Barbara Ricci, Board Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

“The mission of this film festival couldn’t be dearer to my heart. I have long been concerned, through my work with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, as well as through my experiences with friends and family, with the loneliness and isolation that those with mental health challenges often face. Innovative, creative approaches—like this film festival—are just what we need to bring the subject to light, diminish its stigma and unite us in finding solutions.“

Barbara Ricci is a founder and co-head of Deutsche Bank Americas Women’s Network for Global Markets and Corporate Investment Banking as well as an Ally to DbPride. Ms. Ricci serves on the boards of NAMI and NAMI- NYC Metro and is on the founding advisory board of Partners for Strong Minds. She is the board treasurer of the Arthur Miller Foundation, an organization that supports theater arts programming in NYC public schools and also serves on the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Regional Planning Consortium Executive Council.

Awards & Acknowledgments

The Different Lens Award

How To Be Alone • Director: Andrea Dorfman with Tanya Davis

Stepping back and gaining perspective can be life-changing, especially when it comes to loneliness. How To Be Alone bolsters us with its lyrical and empathic variations on a theme and reminds us to stay open to the rich resources and possibilities within ourselves.

In Theater 4

The Creatively Connected Spotlight Award

My Baby You’ll Be • Director: Charles Frank

As we grow up, we often grow apart from those with whom we formed our first and most sustaining connections. A cinematic, acutely personal vignette of a son’s distance from his mother, My Baby You’ll Be glows with universal truth and encourages us to reflect on the importance of enduring and nurturing relationships.

In Theater 4

The CareMore Togetherness Award

Drawings for My Grandchildren • Director: Ji Lee

Depicting how a son’s loving and artful remedy for his “grumpy old” father’s loneliness re-connects three generations of family across three continents, this film helps us see more clearly the challenges of those struggling with loneliness later in life and the tremendous benefit to all generations when those challenges are addressed.

In Theater 1

Honorable Mentions

  • The Definition of Lonely. A young man dressed for work on a park bench is pretending to be a part of the world around him. The source of his isolation is revealed in a conversation with a passing dog owner. Director: Leon Lopez. Theater 3
  • Tales of Mere Existence. Wry, insightful, and dryly funny, three episodes from this hand-animated series illustrate everyday trials, tribulations and expressive reflections of an often lonely and disaffected young man. Director: Lev Yilmaz. Theater 4
  • Game Night. A lonely taxi driver falls into a memory of his past after coming across a football field. Director: Joel Fendelman. Theater 4
  • Purpose. A dynamic, poetic monolog as a young man walks through a vivid city questioning his aloneness and place in the world… until he picks up a camera and comes to life. Director: Victor Okoye. Theater 4
  • Sin País (Without Country). A family is divided when the undocumented parents are deported to Guatemala, taking their toddler but leaving their teens behind. Director: Theo Rigby. Theater 3

Thanks to Our Behind-the-Scenes Team

“Loneliness and isolation have been subjects of art in every medium — since cave drawings, if not before. But film has a unique way of immersing us in these challenging moments, and then magically zooming out to provide a needed, often comforting, perspective. The talented filmmakers on view here bring into focus diverse, surprisingly rich, lyrical, and even laugh out loud views of ourselves, even in difficult times. It has been a privilege to curate and share these works to further the Foundation’s mission.”

Elly Meeks has worked in the arts and nonprofit sectors in innovative project development and as a journalist, documentary filmmaker, and television programmer. Recent projects include piloting a grant-funded initiative introducing 3D-printed prosthetics to Haiti and developing creative outreach strategies for artist entrepreneurs and educational and social services organizations.

Elly Meeks

Program Coordinator, The Creatively Connected Online Film Festival

Team Members
  • Vivian C.R. James, Director of Administration
  • Lindsay Katt, Festival Creative Advisor
  • Amy Powers, Social Media Manager
  • Julia Saunders, Social Media Coordinator
Festival Advisors
  • David Grubin
  • Gabby Hanna
  • Edward Hirsch
  • Edythe Hughes
  • Grace Kiley
  • Mike Paseornek
  • Jason Schuler
  • Steven M. Safyer, MD
Event Committee
  • Douglas Drane & Alexandra Drane
  • Rose Higgins
  • Veronique & Phil Imperial
  • Kevin O’Grady & Nella Webster O’Grady
  • Barbara Ricci
  • Julia & Kevin Spicer
  • Barry Weiss and Laurie Alpert
  • John Zweig
Foundation Board of Directors
  • Laurel Pickering
  • Michael Monson
  • Les Gosule
  • Deborah Obalil
  • Robert Murphy

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Read his comments about the Festival and his moving story, “How Movies Helped Me Fight Loneliness.” Click here for The Hollywood Reporter story.

On the Radio! Listen Now:

Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH, Founder and President of The Foundation for Art & Healing, joins host Janeane Bernstein on KUCI 88.9fm

Thanks to Our Event Committee

  • Douglas Drane & Alexandra Drane
  • Rose Higgins
  • Kevin O’Grady & Nella Webster O’Grady
  • Barbara Ricci
  • Julia & Kevin Spicer
  • Barry Weiss and Laurie Alpert
  • John Zweig

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