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How Filmmaking Can Change The World (With Your Help)

IMB_HidingDivya_1 Every community has its secrets. There are things that no one talks about because they are afraid to. Often, these things are not well understood and it is hard to know what to say about them. They are usually deeply personal as well and referred to as a stigma, which is a word that communicators who work in health care know well. When it comes to changing perceptions about a disease condition or issue, combating the stigma around it is usually the toughest battle to fight.

But if we don't try, then the unthinkable can happen. About five years ago, the father of my friend Rashi put a gun to his head and shot himself. He was struggling with a deep depression and no one in the community knew how to acknowledge it or help him. After years of struggling in the hospital, he died last year. This story has been repeated over and over in communities around the world. The fact is, mental illness is a taboo. Because it is not physically visible, many communities don't acknowledge it and this lack of understanding can lead to disastrous results.

While some are making strides in changing this, it still remains an undiscussed topic all over the world – including in my culture: the South Asian one. Inspired by the story of Rashi's father, this weekend another good friend, Rehana Mirza, is releasing her first feature film called Hiding Divya about 3 generations of women who struggle with mental illness and a community surrounding them who don't understand. It is a very personal project for the entire team behind it, and one that all of us hope can have a transformative power to reduce the stigma around mental illness in many communities, including our own.

If you live in New York City, NY; Edison, NJ, Novi, MI, Peachtree, GA, North Bergen, NJ or Fremont, CA – please consider going and seeing the film in person … and if you happen to be in another community, check out the Facebook page for the film and read a letter from the Director of the film to help support this important effort.

Stigma can be a terrible thing and when films like Hiding Divya take on the tough challenge of shining a light on it and forcing communities to confront it, we all need to help share that story. The world needs more of them.

See a list of participating theaters or buy a ticket online >>

  • Naveen

    Thanks for the update! I think independent movies such as this should be encouraged more, in a way filmmakers are story tellers,they bring in a lot of point of views that gradually help shape opinions and create awareness…

    I would love to see if the movie comes around to Sri lanka, or at least if would be featured in some screening over here…

  • JinAtSmilely

    I will definitely look out for the movie. I took an Indian cultures class in college, and having lived in Asia for several years, I am fully aware of the social stigma associated with mental problems. I’m glad that the film can help educate the world on the sufferings that people have to endure.

  • Thomas Retterbush Ebooks

    I can definately relate, because not only am I diagnosed with bi-polar depression, but I am also a recovering heroin addict.

    After a long, hard walk on the wild side, I’ve finally changed from bad boy to good guy, becoming a successful entrepreneur and social media geek, being 4 years clean, as well as having launched a website and several blogs.

    I am thinking about making a film of my story, but I’m kind of waiting to see how the story will develop.

    Knowing first hand what it’s like on the Other Side, I have dedicated my life to proving, that success of one’s hopes and dreams is possible no matter where you’ve been or how far you have fallen.

    If you read my whole crazy story on the first page of my website, at, you will realize that, if I can turn my life around, ANYBODY CAN!

  • James

    The thing about independant move directors is that they have the hard task of portraying communities like what you are talking about in the right light. That is the real challenge to capture the truth, as well as make it entertaining and good for an audience.

  • James

    I also might add that there are many attempts to depict what you are talking about and it is sites like these that can help get the word out.

  • manny

    One month left to enter your film into the AMC Bigbreak contest. Your indie film in theaters! from Bigbreak Fb page link to

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