Close message

Welcome to Kanopy

Brought to you by Austin Public Library

Not your library? Find it now
Crooked Beauty
To start watching

Mad Dance: A Mental Health Film Trilogy

Mad Dance is a trilogy of provocative and beautiful short films that re-envision the way we think, speak and feel about mental distress and wellness in today's chaotic world. These transformative films offer new maps for navigating madness with insight, healing and hope. The trilogy includes the following films:

Crooked Beauty is an internationally acclaimed poetic documentary that chronicles artist-activist Jacks McNamara's transformative journey from psych ward inpatient to pioneering mental health advocacy. It is an intimate portrait of her intense personal quest to live with courage and dignity, and a powerful critique of standard psychiatric treatments. Poignant testimonials connect the fissures and fault lines of human nature to the unstable topography and mercurial weather patterns of the San Francisco Bay Area.

In Light, In! is a haunting, visual essay about the awkward and angry junctures where our culture struggles to manage its emotional distress. Images recycled from 1950's-era educational films are accompanied by original compositions by world-renowned cellist, Zoe Keating.

For Shadows is a contemplative, multi-layered memoir that explores the process of coming to terms with one's shadow while unraveling the tangled roots of self-harm. The home movies of a child's formative years and an interior landscape of traumatic domestic memories are excavated and re-constructed alongside sound clips from archival mental hygiene films.

"At once extremely personal and yet exquisitely accessible, Ken Paul Rosenthal's Mad Dance Mental Health Film Trilogy is that rare cinematic feat that combines ineffably compelling artistry, poetics, and visual beauty with compassion, daring, and a heartfelt sense of purpose - all in the service of shining light upon deep (and dark) psychological truths." -Alan Berliner, Filmmaker,The Family Album and First Cousin Once Removed

"The Mad Dance Trilogy captures the intensity of human suffering, enlightening the pain of madness that is often cast to the shadows, and takes us through a journey of profoundly moving images that show the power and resiliency of the human spirit." - Dina Tyler, Coordinator of Peer and Family Support Services, PREP Alameda County

Grand Prize, Best Documentary Short - US Film & Digital Video Festival Best Documentary Short - Picture This International Disability Film Festival Best Documentary Short - Mendocino Film Festival

Ken Paul Rosenthal is an independent filmmaker and mental health advocate whose current work explores the geography of madness through the regenerative power of nature, urban landscapes, home movies, and archival footage from social hygiene films. Proclaimed as the, "Steven Spielberg of mental health films," by National Empowerment Center Director, Oryx Cohen, his films are visually sensual, emotionally intelligent works of art that also function as tools for personal and societal transformation. Mad Dance: A Mental Health Film Trilogy, has collectively won eighteen awards, screened internationally in fifty-nine film festivals, and been presented at dozens of peer support networks, universities, mental health symposia and community events worldwide.

Running Time
73 mins
Nb videos
3 videos included

Comments (2)

Anonymous picture

"Crooked Beauty" is a beautiful, brave and poetic documentary that addresses mental health stigmas. It challenge one's views on what madness is arguing madness can be a tool for creativity, inspiration and hope. I found myself asking 'where do we draw the line between madness and genius'?

Ken avatar

I produced the "Mad Dance: A Mental Health Film Trilogy" because I am committed to alleviating suffering by cultivating beauty and celebrating the potential of our human spirit.

It is important to me that these films exist as works of art, and also function as tools for personal and ...Read more