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Fanlight is excited to announce that three of our films have been selected for this year’s Western Psychological Association Film Festival, taking place at the WPA's Annual Convention in Portland, Oregon from April 24-27. One of these, CHANGING YOUR MIND, was the winner of last year’s festival.

The new films are:

  • GAMBLING BOYS: Looks at the growing problem of gambling addiction among teenagers.
  • TOWARD DAYLIGHT: Suicide is never the final word for those left behind. It alters lives forever and crosses all human boundaries. TOWARD DAYLIGHT kindles the hope necessary for the living to face, and then move on from, the pain and loss of suicide.

The festival will also feature three other titles from Icarus Films: MAN FOR A DAY, BITTERSWEET JOKE & WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS.

CHANGING YOUR MIND is a Western Psychological Association Film Festival Winner!:

Fanlight Productions is proud to announce that CHANGING YOUR MIND, an exploration of the brain’s neuroplasticity, has been named a Film Festival Winner at the Western Psychological Associations 2014 Convention.

Festival Winners are chosen from ratings given by conference attendees on a scale of 1-to-4. CHANGING YOUR MIND received an average score of 4.78, the second highest of all 32 films screen.

More info on the festival and the winners is available here.

Two Fanlight titles at the WPA Film Festival!:

Fanlight is pleased to announce that two of our films will appear at the Western Psychological Association Film Festival, taking place at the WPA's 93rd Annual Convention in Reno, Nevada, from April 25-28.

The films are:

CHANGING YOUR MIND: Illustrates new research in nueroplasticity and how the changing brain plays an important role in treating mental diseases and disorders.

ROLL ON: Shares the everyday lives of families living with neuromuscular disorders.

The festival will also feature four other titles from Icarus Films: 108 CUCHILLO DE PALO, BRANDING ILLNESS, A NATURAL HISTORY OF LAUGHTER, and THE SUBSTANCE: ALBERT HOFMANN'S LSD.

Pushin' Forward now available on home video:

Fanlight is happy to announce that we have made PUSHIN' FORWARD, a portrait of the evolution of wheelchair racer James Lilly directed by Izumi Tanaka, available on home video. Non-institutional customers can now purchase the film for home use for $39.00. See the film page for more info.

December brought the sad news that Mr. Lilly, the film's subject, had died at home in Chicago. He was 43.

New Video Clips Page:

We have recently added online video clips to the web pages for select titles. See which ones here.

Icarus Films Acquires Program Development Associates:

Fanlight Productions is pleased to announce Icarus Films has acquired Program Development Associates, a company that distributes multimedia training and educational resources on an up-to-date list of disability topics.

Program Development Associates supplies disability professionals in social service agencies, k-12 special education teachers in public and private schools, Human Resource trainers in business, and instructors in college classrooms with well researched program content that has been developed and tested by disability experts.

Combined with Fanlight Productions award-winning documentaries on disabilities, Icarus Films can now offer our customers a comprehensive collection of resources in the field of disability awareness. PDA's collection includes videos, CDs, DVDs, printed workbooks and reference guides, gaming software and interactive board games on topics ranging from disability awareness, inclusion, professional development, advocacy and assistive technology, to physical, developmental, learning disabilities and vocational rehab.

Visit Program Development Associates online for more information.

33rd National Media Market:
We're excited to participate in this year's National Media Market being held in Las Vegas! We'll be screening our new releases and many more films so join us.

Review for Wipe Out:
Fanlight Productions is happy to share this new review of Wipe Out. Published in the September, 2010 issue of Youth Today, Cathi Rae MacDunn says, "Despite their nearly fatal injuries and long struggles to heal, these three thrill-seekers still long to return to exciting downhill plunges. Researchers hope that increasing understanding of the young male mind will change the way society sanctions risk-taking sports. Meanwhile, this film is a provocative and effective tool."

Download and read the entire review here.

New Global Health subject page added to our website:
Over the past couple of years we've acquired more and more films about health care issues from around the world so we thought it would be useful to create the new Global Health subject page. Some of the films featured on the page are:

Awakening from Sorrow

Awakening from Sorrow (New Release): Documents the power to transform pain into action and to lift the veil of repression that has gripped a generation of young people orphaned by Argentina's 'Dirty War.'

Black Dawn: The Next Pandemic: We seem to have escaped the threat of a global bird flu pandemic, but what about next time? This gripping docudrama, based on scientific reality, imagines what it would be like if it actually happens. Many experts predict that such a pandemic will occur, and could be more lethal than all of the world's previous plagues.

Song of the Soul: Stories of Hospice in South Africa (New Release): An inside look at urban and rural hospice centers across South Africa that provide community-based compassionate care in the face of widespread poverty.


Made Over in America

New Icarus Films titles added to our collection:

Made Over in America: In a culture where bodies seem customizable, how do we perceive body image, and how are desires for a better self influenced by reality television and the makeover industry?

Exit: Profiles the EXIT organization, which for over twenty years has counseled and accompanied the terminally-ill and severely handicapped towards a death of their choice.

Facing Death: Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's seminal book "On Death and Dying" brought her international fame. This intimate portrait was filmed in 2002, when she lived secluded in the desert, awaiting — as she says — her own death.

Selling Sickness: Explores the unhealthy relationships between society, medical science and the pharmaceutical industry as it promotes not just drugs but also the latest diseases that go with them.

Judith Butler: An up-close and personal encounter with this influential theorist and author of the best-seller Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity.

Western Eyes: The search for beauty and self-acceptance of two women of Asian descent contemplating plastic surgery — they believe their appearance, specifically their eyes, affect how they are perceived by others.

Gorgeous: Animated film by Kaz Cooke, whose character Hermoine, the Modern Girl, tackles plastic surgery, beauty therapy, and bulimia in a feral fit of inadequacy.

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Western Psychological Association
Cancun, Mexico, April 22-25, 2010

The Western Psychological Association (WPA) was founded in 1921 for the purpose of stimulating the exchange of scientific and professional ideas and, in so doing to enhance interest in the processes of research and scholarship in the behavioral sciences. Membership in the Western Psychological Association is open to both students and professionals who wish to support these goals and who would like to be a part of the network that we have created to further them. At their annual conference in April they will screen the following films:

Mortal Lessons

Soldier's Heart: What we now call PTSD once had other names: Civil War Soldiers suffered from ‘soldier’s heart.’ and in World War, ‘shell shock.’ The filmmaker’s father came back from World War II with ‘combat fatigue,’ and the trauma of his wartime experiences affected his entire family.

Children of the Stars: The harsh reality of raising children with autism in modern day China, and a painful reminder of conditions that prevailed in the United States not so long ago.

Mortal Lessons: Follows the stories of two extraordinary women, diagnosed with end stage cancer, who are facing death head on, determined to lead richer, more rewarding lives in the time that they have. Threaded through their narratives are the perspectives of hospice workers, funeral directors, bereavement counselors and others who deal with death on a daily basis.

Eastern Psychological Association

New York City, March 7-10, 2010

The Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) was founded in 1896 and is the oldest of the regional Psychological Associations in the United States. Its sole purpose is to advance the science and profession through the dissemination of professional information about the field of Psychology. At their annual conference in March they will screen the following films:

Untold Desires

Children of the Stars: The harsh reality of raising children with autism in modern day China, and a painful reminder of conditions that prevailed in the United States not so long ago.

Givin' It Up: This disturbing documentary explores the lives of three convicted sex offenders between the ages of 15 and 17 (two male, one female), all of whom were themselves sexually abused when they were younger. Their victims were children as young as four. It examines approaches to the treatment of sexual offenders while acknowledging the challenge of balancing rehabilitation with community safety.

Untold Desires: Powerful documentary about people with disabilities who struggle to be recognized as sexual beings, free to explore their sexuality and to lead sexually fulfilling lives.


A Plastic Story

Collection Update
We’re thrilled to add these Icarus Films titles to the Fanlight Productions collection:

The Road From Kampuchea: The story Tun Channareth — Cambodian ex-soldier, landmine survivor and co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Price for his work to ban landmines.

Old Enough to Know Better: The remarkable story of the Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning, a University whose student body is composed entirely of retired persons.

The Vanishing Line: From the producer of Worlds Apart, Hold Your Breath and Grave Words, Maren Grainger-Monsen chronicles one physician's exploration of how to try and meet the needs of the dying and their families.

The Clitoris: A close look at that part of the female anatomy that exists purely for pleasure, and how this highly sensitive organ has long been ignored or misunderstood in the medical literature.

Donka: X-Ray of an African Hospital: Daily life in the largest public hospital in the Republic of Guinea.

Everything’s Fine: Seydou Konaté is a doctor in a remote area in Mali. But he is at the center of a global issue: bringing quality health care to rural people left behind by development.

A Plastic Story: The remarkable history of the surprising origins and development of this now common medical field of plastic surgery.

6000 A Day: The story of how the world's top decision makers knowingly failed to prevent the spread of the AIDS epidemic.

Bevel Up: Drugs, Users and Outreach Nursing

Bevel Up
Reviewed in the American
Journal of Nursing
In the July 2009 issue of the American Journal of Nursing, Bevel Up is featured for the groundbreaking Street Nursing program the film follows in the city of Vancouver. Click here to download a PDF of the article.

Icarus Films Acquires Fanlight Productions

Jonathan Miller, President of Icarus Films, and Ben Achtenberg, President of Fanlight Productions, jointly announced today their agreement for Icarus Films to acquire Fanlight Productions and its collection of 350 award-winning health care and mental health films, videos and DVDs.

Achtenberg, President and founder of Fanlight Productions in 1980, and producer of many films, including Code Grey: Ethical Dilemmas in Nursing (an Academy Award nominee in 1985 for Best Documentary Short Subject), has decided to devote his future efforts entirely to production, and to discontinue the company’s distribution activities.

Miller, President of Icarus Films, a leading distributor of documentaries since 1978, was eager to take on the distribution of Fanlight Productions’ prestigious collection of health care titles, which deal with a wide variety of issues, including public health, gerontology, death and dying, mental health, disabilities, parenting and childbirth, gender and sexuality, and psychology.

“The Fanlight Productions collection is a natural complement to the Icarus Films library of social issue documentaries,” explained Miller, “and will represent an important expansion of our own collection in these academic and professional disciplines. In fact, the merger of these two collections of critically acclaimed, award-winning films now arguably comprises the preeminent library of documentary films, particularly independently produced documentary films, in North America.”

“Icarus Films is a company that is about as close to Fanlight in style and spirit,” Achtenberg has commented, “as it is possible to be. I couldn’t imagine a better ‘home’ for the films and filmmakers in the Fanlight collection.”

Miller added, “Many people—at least in the film world—are talking about the ‘crisis’ in independent and specialty film distribution. But from our standpoint this is an exciting time to be expanding and evolving our company. After the successful launch last year of our new home video DVD label, we are now excited to be able to demonstrate our continuing dedication to more specialized non-theatrical markets. Independent documentaries are not just one thing, or for only one audience, they are many things, and deserve a distributor that can deliver each film to its most appropriate and receptive audience and community.”

And at a time when these vital issues, including prospects for the most significant reform in public health care policy in decades, dominate the national debate, the newly expanded Icarus Films collection represents a major new audio-visual resource for patients and their families, health care professionals, scholars, and all concerned citizens.

How I AM (Wie Ich Bin)

How I Am Recognized by ALA
The American Library Association honored How I Am (Wie Ich Bin) with the distinguished 2009 Notable Videos for Adults award. With the dreams and fears of a teenager, but wisdom beyond his years, the documentary takes us into Patrick's emotional world through the words he painstakingly types into his computer. "I'm like a hermit on an island," is the way he describes his life with autism.



Children of the Stars

Sprout Film Festival
New York City, 2009

Each year Fanlight is proud to support the Sprout Film Festival. This year's festival took place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's New Uris Education Center in New York, NY. Two of Fanlight's films on autism screened: Children of the Stars and How I Am. Visit them online at for more information.


Plan F

Picture this... Film Festival
Focus: Honorable Mention, Dramatizes the feelings of a high school student with untreated, possibly undiagnosed learning disabilities. The teenaged filmmaker embodies each of the voices battling to control his behavior.

Song of Our Children: Honorable Mention, Meet teachers, administrators, parents, and students whose daily struggles and triumphs exemplify what it takes to make educational inclusion work.

Breathe Easy: Official Selection, Determined not to let her own past stereotypes of people on oxygen affect her enthusiasm for life, Lois Perelman set out to change the tape in her own head as well as society's views of aging and disability.

Boy in The World: Official Selection, Following a 4-year-old with Down-syndrome, this film examines the nuts and bolts of successful preschool inclusion and the challenges of helping all children to find their places in the world.

Stuffed: Official Selection, Some people can't throw anything away. This film dispels the stereotype that all "packrats" are isolated, elderly derelicts. Though hoarding has been thought to be related to OCD, recent studies suggest it may be a distinct condition.

Plan F: Official Selection, Being an occupational therapist was "Plan A" but at 20, Ed Marko lost his eyesight. By the time he got to Plan F he'd found his life's work, fixing cars. Gruff and down-to-earth, Ed demonstrates the power of reinvention when life forces a change of plans.


Phoenix Dance

FOCUS Film Festival
The Healing Arts: Best of Festival Award, The program documented in this film uses the arts in an innovative treatment approach for patients living with chronic, disabiling physical and emotional challenges. It integrates technology, music, writing, and dance into patient care, staff training, and wellness programs.

Edges of Perception: Best Documentary Award, Eleven-year-old Jessica has Stargardt's, an inherited eye disease. She is legally blind, but with the calm, determined support of her parents and teachers she attends a regular classroom, plays soccer, and is a serious runner. She wants to meet her inspiration, Marla Runyan, a legally blind Olympic runner who also has Stargardt's.

Phoenix Dance: Spirit of the Festival Award, Renowned dancer Homer Avila lost his right leg and most of his hip to cancer. Following the creation of a pas de deux choreographed by Alonzo King, Phoenix Dance takes us on a journey of transformation and healing, challenging our expectations of what it means to be "disabled."