A film we can support | AspenTimes.com

A film we can support

Last week, while attending the Aspen Film Festival, I was honored to see one of the best documentaries I’ve ever watched.

“Cracked Up,” directed by Michelle Esrick, documents the hilarious monologues and tormented life of famous comedian and SNL star Darrell Hammond. Over the course of his life, Mr. Hammond has suffered from serious mental health challenges, brought on, we discover, by heinous physical abuse in his home when he was a child. Hammond became what is known as a “cutter”; self-mutilation became a crisis more manageable than the one in his head.

Esrick spent more than six years making this film and when I asked what motivated her, she said: “I want to save lives!” In fact a woman recently told her that watching the film saved her life.

Esrick wants us to understand that childhood trauma rewires the developing brain and creates health risks like suicide, addiction, depression, heart disease and more. “This is a biological issue,” she believes. “Trauma survivors are living in a deregulated body and we have to learn how to calm the body down and regulate our system with modalities that we know will truly heal trauma.”

She and Darrell recently spoke to Congress and helped add nine trauma-informed care practices to the new Support for Patients and Treatment Act.

In closing, the filmmakers are in need of additional funds to pay for final finishing costs and the film’s outreach they are doing. For more information, or to donate, go to http://www.crackedupmovie.com. You can also email Ms. Esrick directly at crackedupmovie@gmail.com. This is a crucial topic and film. I hope you will reach out, watch it and donate to the cause!

John Dietsch

Pacific Palisades, California

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