Northern Michigan Mental Health Film Featured at NYC Film Festival

Northern Lakes Community Mental Health’s video, To See What I See, was one of four featured films in the 6th annual New York City Mental Health Film Festival on April 25, 2010.

The film festival is sponsored by the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services and Community Access, a supportive housing organization. The festival is focused on mental health recipients and the arts.

To See What I See is a 20-minute documentary which highlights the Northern Lakes Community Mental Health Stigma Busters Project, where people who have experienced mental health issues use art, “photobiographies,” and writing to inspire others to understand them, to hope, and to spread the word that recovery from a mental illness is possible.

The movie was written and directed by Mary Pierce of Traverse City and edited by Jeff Morgan of Prometheus Motion Pictures, with technical advice from Deb Freed of Freed Communications of Suttons Bay and Cynthia Petersen of Northern Lakes Community Mental Health. Shawn Semelsberger of Traverse City narrated the film.

Pierce said, “I was humbled to be a part of this experience and the opportunity to work with people who were so willing to share the most difficult experiences of their lives – for their own healing and the healing of others with mental illness. They demonstrated a determination and fortitude, through their artistic achievements, in the face of challenges.”

Morgan said, “Working on this project is one of my proudest moments, and I feel so privileged to be a part of this message. Slowly but surely we can all start evaluating each other by who we are and what we do, not by the labels given to us.”

The film was produced by Northern Lakes CMH with the support of a mental health services block grant from the Michigan Department of Community Mental Health, provided by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Mental Health Services.

To See What I See is available for purchase or download at

A second film on recovery from a mental illness, “Look Closer: See Me For Who I Am,” was recently released by Northern Lakes CMH on and on the Northern Lakes’ YouTube channel at More information may be accessed at