Press Information

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pack Up Your Sorrows PosterContact: Rob Stegman
BlueStar Media, Inc.
617.797.7118
rstegman@bluestarmedia.com

Ezzie Films and BlueStar Media Present “Pack Up Your Sorrows”
A Story of Illness, Hope and Transformation

Documentary Exploring Ways of Living Well with Mental Illness also featuring “Guardian of the Golden Gate” Kevin Briggs, Premieres for One Night Only in San Francisco August 21

San Francisco, CA July 30, 2015 – Ezzie Films and BlueStar Media present “Pack Up Your Sorrows”, a new documentary film about singer/songwriter Meg Hutchinson, which explores the realities of living a healthy life while coping with mental illness.  It will have its West Coast Premiere on Friday, August 21 for one night only.
“Pack Up Your Sorrows” follows Meg as she learns to live a healthy life with Bipolar Disorder. Through her eyes, viewers will explore different aspects of mood disorders –– how families try to deal with the illness in their midst, the biology of these diseases of the brain, and the effects of traditional and alternative therapies like medication and meditation.  Viewers will learn, as Meg has, that these illnesses of the brain are not a moral failing or a character weakness, and that treatment options are improving. San Francisco plays a significant role in the story, as Meg traveled here to meet Sgt. Briggs at the Golden Gate Bridge, and to learn about the innovative “Quiet Time” program helping area school children improve educational outcomes with meditation.

“Those of us who are experiencing mental illness, or are dealing with someone who is, know that it often brings with it a sense of shame and an inescapable loneliness,” Hutchinson says.  “These feelings can be exacerbated by the discrimination from a society that further marginalizes people who are most deserving of compassion.  I hope by telling my story I can help change that.”

Following three sold-out performances on the East Coast, “Pack Up Your Sorrows” will have its West Coast premiere at a special film screening at the Roxie Theatre on Friday, August 21 at 9:30pm.  Meg, Kevin Briggs and the filmmakers will be in attendance and participate in a post-show Q&A session.  Tickets are available at the Roxie box office (www.roxie.com).
A second screening will be held the following evening, Saturday August 22, 6:30pm at the Enloe Conference Center in Chico, CA With strong family ties to the community, (Meg’s father’s family is from Chico) this screening will be a special event in honor of mental wellness. Followed by a Q&A.

In “Pack Up Your Sorrows,” Meg seeks to understand the role mental illness has played in the lives of authors and historical figures.  She explores what steps we can take as a society to reduce the epidemic of suicide, especially among young people.  Throughout the film, Meg has revealing conversations with some of the leading minds in the fields of mental wellness, including Kay Redfield Jamison (Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Nassir Ghaemi (MD, MPH, Professor of Psychiatry, Director of the Mood Disorders Program at Tufts Medical Center and author of A First-Rate Madness),  Steve McCarroll (Ph.D., Director of Genetics, Broad Institute’s Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research) and Richard J. Davidson (Ph.D., Founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds; University of Wisconsin, Madison).  Scott Stossel (“The Atlantic” Editor and author of My Age of Anxiety) talks about his own struggles with a mental disorder, and Meg’s family openly discuss how they also labored in their own ways to deal with her illness.  Meg’s honest look at the difficult topic of suicide includes a conversation with former California Highway Patrol Sgt. Kevin Briggs, who has been instrumental in saving lives on the Golden Gate Bridge.
With Meg’s own music and stunning images of the natural world guiding the way, this film is a unique and moving meditation on achieving wellness. Ultimately, it is a film about hope, healing, understanding, and the connection with others that positions us to live happy and productive lives.

About Meg Hutchinson
A native of the Berkshires in Western, MA, Meg Hutchinson is a nationally touring songwriter, poet and recording artist on Red House Records. She has released eight albums and won numerous songwriting awards in the US, Ireland and the UK, including recognition from the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Billboard Song Contest and prestigious competitions at Merlefest, NewSong, Kerrville, Telluride and Rocky Mountain. She has been described as delivering “Music as powerful as it is gentle.” Performer Magazine writes, “With a poet’s eye, Hutchinson captures so beautifully that human journey toward peace, toward forgiveness, toward acceptance.” In recent years, as a result of the messages in her songwriting and her dedication to mental health literacy, Meg has increasingly been asked to be a keynote speaker at universities, conferences and teaching hospitals around the country. Meg is a member of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau.
Visit www.meghutchinson.com to learn more.

About Ezzie Films and BlueStar Media
“Pack Up Your Sorrows” is the filmmakers’ third feature-length collaboration.  Executive Producer and Co-Director, Todd Kwait and Co-Producer and Director, Rob Stegman met Meg when she had a small part as a performer in a prior film about the Cambridge folk music scene. Both were drawn to Meg’s story of her struggles with her mental illness and the prevalence of discrimination against people with mental illnesses opened the filmmakers’ eyes to the illness’ stigma. They spent about 18 months working on this project, filming around Boston and Cambridge, in the Berkshires and traveling to Washington D.C., Baltimore, San Francisco and Wisconsin.

Kwait and Stegman first met as freshman at Boston University in the late 1970s and have collaborated on a number of projects. Previous productions include the award-winning “For the Love of the Music: the Club 47 Folk Revival(2012) and last year’s “Tom Rush: No Regrets.” Kwait is President of Ezzie Films Shaker Heights OH, and previously produced and directed “Chasin’ Gus’ Ghost,” a history of jug band music, and “Vagabondo” about singer Vince Martin.  Stegman is President of BlueStar Media of Needham, MA and has been producing for corporate communications, broadcast and cable television for over 30 years; most notably “Old Ironsides Returns to Sea” for the History Channel, “Tim Allen: Just for Laughs” for TLC and “KnowTV”, a CableAce Award-winning educational program for Discovery.

About Sgt. Kevin Briggs and Pivotal Points

Kevin Briggs is one of America’s most active advocates for suicide awareness and prevention. Briggs has been featured in The New Yorker, Men’s Health, and People magazines as well as several national radio and television shows. Briggs regularly travels the country helping businesses learn crisis management and people better learn the signs of suicidal risk as well as the best steps to help prevent a tragedy that still takes the life of an American every 13 minutes.
Kevin Briggs is the author of the new book, “Guardian of the Golden Gate.”  Books will be available for purchase the night of the premier and are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and area bookstores.

Sgt. Briggs is founder of Pivotal Points (www.pivotal-points.com), which began as Kevin Briggs first thought how he might be able to reach more people suffering from mental illness – before they wound up suicidal on the Golden Gate Bridge. Leading a team of officers, Kevin observed, up-close-and-personally, the toll that years of mental illness had on folks contemplating suicide, as well as, the effects that interacting with those folks had on his officers. Kevin Briggs’s goal is to promote mental illness awareness and ultimately break the stigmas associated with it. Suicide is preventable. There is hope. There is help. He is the father of two boys and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

About the Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education and “Quiet Time.”
Since 2007 the CWAE has been dedicated to introducing their flagship program, “Quiet Time,” to the underserved school communities of the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.  Their mission is to optimize educational performance, reduce violence, stress, and substance abuse, and improve the psychological wellness of students, faculty, and administrators by strengthening the underlying neurophysiology of perception, learning and behavior.

About Ezzie Films and BlueStar Media
“Pack Up Your Sorrows” is the filmmakers’ third feature-length collaboration.  Executive Producer and Co-Director, Todd Kwait and Co-Producer and Director, Rob Stegman met Meg when she had a small part as a performer in a prior film about the Cambridge folk music scene.  Both were drawn to Meg’s story of her personal struggles with mental illness and the prevalence of discrimination against people with mental illnesses opened the filmmakers’ eyes to the illness’ stigma.  They spent about 18 months working on this project, filming around Boston and Cambridge, in the Berkshires and traveling to Washington D.C., Baltimore, San Francisco and Wisconsin.

Kwait and Stegman also manage the independent record label, Kingswood Records, which celebrates the folk music featured in their films.  “Pack Up Your Sorrows,” the theme song from this documentary performed by Meg Hutchinson is currently available as a digital single from Kingswood Records.

The pair first met as freshman at Boston University in the late 1970s and have collaborated on a number of projects. Previous productions include the award-winning “For the Love of the Music: the Club 47 Folk Revival” (2012) and last year’s “Tom Rush: No Regrets.” Kwait is President of Ezzie Films Shaker Heights OH, and previously produced and directed “Chasin’ Gus’ Ghost,” a history of jug band music, and “Vagabondo” about singer Vince Martin. Stegman is President of BlueStar Media of Needham, MA and has been producing for corporate communications, broadcast and cable television for over 30 years; most notably “Old Ironsides Returns to Sea” for the History Channel and “KnowTV”, a CableAce Award-winning educational program for Discovery.

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Images available here

2 Comments

  1. Hello,
    I had the opportunity to hear Meg last November in St. Paul, MN. I am on a committee which hosts an annual mental health summit for 400 professionals in who serve families in Dakota County, MN.
    Is Meg available November 10, 2016?
    What would the fees be to have her serve as the keynote speaker? And, perhaps a break out session?
    I have a daughter who lives with bipolar disorder and was inspired by the amazing presentation and the documentary.

    Kind regards,
    Shannon Bailey
    651-554-6164

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