Endorsements

Mad Dance Trilogy

“At once extremely personal and yet exquisitely accessible, Ken Paul Rosenthal’s Mad Dance Mental Health Film Trilogy is that rare cinematic feat that combines ineffably compelling artistry, poetics, and visual beauty with compassion, daring, and a heartfelt sense of purpose — all in the service of shining light upon deep (and dark) psychological truths.”
Alan Berliner, Filmmaker, The Family Album and First Cousin Once Removed

“The Mad Dance Trilogy is beautifully captivating. Ken Paul Rosenthal has brilliantly created a work of art that captures the intensity of human suffering, enlightening the pain of madness that is often cast to the shadows, and takes us through a journey of profoundly moving images that show the power and resiliency of the human spirit.”
Dina Tyler, Coordinator of Peer and Family Support Services, PREP Alameda County

“The entire Mad Dance Mental Health Film Trilogy is a vastly important work in the world of mental health activism. I’ve frequently used one of the trilogy’s outstanding films, Crooked Beauty, as an educational tool in my advocacy work. This film opens minds, sparks conversations, and often invokes tears. People have told me that it is the first time they have felt truly validated and they walk away empowered.”
Nina Packebush, Writer, Activist

“The Mad Dance Trilogy is intensely personal, yet successfully communicates broad truths of what it means to suffer in today’s world. These profoundly beautiful films peel back the layers of untruths that deem certain aspects of human experience as ‘psychiatric disturbances’, and thus renew our sense of hope.”
Brent Potter, Ph.D., Author, Elements of Self-Destruction

“These deeply moving and profoundly beautiful films are both complex and subtle in the way they illustrate and express the human experience of mental illness and its challenges, both personally and in the larger context of our society. I have felt richly inspired by and truly spoken for through Ken’s voice and vision.”
Adam C. DiDommaso-Rudd, Writer

“The Mad Dance Trilogy resonates with our sense of human dignity. The films gently disarm the innocent and guarded, and clear a compassionate exit path from stigma. I use Crooked Beauty in educational presentations, and if you have seen it, you know Mr. Rosenthal’s brilliance and spirit of hope.”
Jacek/Jack A. Haciak, Psy.D., Consultant, Activist

“The Mad Dance Trilogy is poignant and barrier breaking. “
Jannika Nyberg, Co-founder/Project Coordinator, ArtQuake

Crooked Beauty

Crooked Beauty is a groundbreaking documentary that offers new language for how we conceptualize and discuss the culture, power and politics of psychological suffering.”
Heather Macdonald, Psy.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology, Lesley University

Crooked Beauty conveys a hopeful message about personal resilience and the capacity for the human spirit to endure.”
Wayne Assing, Director Student Development & Counseling Services, Rhode Island School of Design

Crooked Beauty offers fresh methods for conceptualizing and representing “madness”, illustrating how viewers may effect change in pursuit of larger social transformations. It is a complex film that invites discussion from a variety of audiences, from beginning students of the mind to anyone who struggles against institutions of power and knowledge.”
Michelle Glaros, PhD, R. Z. Biedenharn Chair of Communication, Centenary College of Louisiana

Crooked Beauty is a magisterial piece of art cinema on every level. The counterpoint between the stream of ravishing images and the thought-stream of the monologue is achingly poignant. There’s a serene urgency here, a longing for stability in an evanescent world of light and fog.”
Gene Youngblood, Media Theorist and Author, Expanded Cinema

Crooked Beauty is a very important film for those training for work in the mental health field, particularly for its presentation of how one can flourish in the face of episodes of adversity related to their mental health.”
Andrew Starzomski, PhD, Psychologist, East Coast Forensic Hospital, Halifax, Canada

Crooked Beauty offers a unique window through which to deepen our understanding of bipolar disorder and provides an excellent catalyst for dialogue amongst students in a variety of health disciplines. This film pushes us to consider how societal constructions of mental illness might impact upon expressions of creativity, spirituality, self-identity and, potentially, treatment engagement.”
Erin Michalak, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia

Crooked Beauty is that rare breed of film that is both a socially relevant documentary while at the same time a work of artistic beauty. The combination is breathtaking and inspiring. A great tool for both documentary classes as well as experimental film classes.”
Jay Rosenblatt, Filmmaker, Human Remains and King of the Jews

“This woman has narrated my life. After the film finished, I cried until I felt hollowed out—a poem in motion, laced straight into my heart.”
Emily Fietz, Psychology Student, New England Institute of Art

Crooked Beauty provides a soulful and thought-provoking springboard for classroom discussions, challenging art and psychology students alike to creatively expand their understanding of the complex messages about mental health in today’s society, and the ways we all navigate the dark and light in our lives.”
Paige Greason, PhD, Clinical Director, Counseling Services, University of North Carolina

“The poetic introspection and pensive photography of this remarkable film deeply touches both the heart and the eye. It joins a chorus of voices demanding that we rethink the character, meaning, and especially the treatment of madness. Crooked Beauty invites students and practitioners to question the cold and often abusive medical model of mental illness and embrace the struggle and dignity of the people behind the diagnoses.”
Godfrey J. Ellis, PhD, College of Education and Professional Psychology, Saint Martin’s University

“Mesmerizing . . . In Crooked Beauty, Ken Paul Rosenthal has created a work of art that has the transformative powers of a great poem. Jacks McNamara’s descriptions of the landscapes of her mind are extraordinary, and the images in this film are hauntingly beautiful. This inspiring movie will lead you to think anew about what it may be like to experience ‘madness’, and the best pathways to recovery.”
Robert Whitaker, Author, Anatomy of an Epidemic and Mad in America

Crooked Beauty provides excellent insights into the limitations of our conceptions of bipolar disorder. This evocative rendering of words, pictures and music provokes one to peel away the many layers of misinformation and prejudice. I laud one of the documentary’s most concise messages, “mental illness does not take place in a vacuum.” Definitely a worthwhile learning experience and good teaching tool.”
Ronald Bassman, PhD, Author A Fight To Be: A Psychologist’s Experience From Both Sides of the Locked Door

“This film seduces with poetic beauty and challenges with incisive commentary to profoundly reshape our understanding of bipolar disorder as well as the very concept of mental illness. It is a great example of how the art documentary can speak to real issues in a timely way.”
Bill Nichols, PhD, Documentary Theorist and Author
Representing Reality, Issues and Concepts in Documentary and Introduction to Documentary

Crooked Beauty provides a humanistic element to an often-misunderstood condition, and evokes an empathetic and heartfelt voice that will undoubtedly resonate with any student. The film is a wonderful entry point into discussions surrounding the ethical treatment of people experiencing extreme states of mind.”
Bradley Kaye, PhD, SUNY Binghamton and Broome Community College

Crooked Beauty is a mesmerizing jewel. Exquisite camerawork, editing and sound make for an enthralling, sophisticated, and deeply moving film that treats madness as a serious social issue.”
Sam Green, Filmmaker, The Weather Underground

“A fantastic starting point to begin a discussion about the meaning of mental illness in our modern times.”
Ethan Watters, Author, Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche

“A deeply provocative work of art. Visually stunning, emotionally nuanced and socially enlightening, Crooked Beauty is extremely valuable for teaching museum educators and staff about mental health issues, and an equally valuable tool for art students wishing to channel their creativity towards important social concerns.”
Georgia Krantz, Education Manager, Sackler Center for Arts Education at the Guggenheim Museum

“A discussion starter for psychiatric residents in every medical school in the country, every school of social work, and all community mental health centers. The tremendous hope that is absorbed from this documentary will change the viewers’ understanding of symptom as a cause for concern to a cause of strength of character.”
Margaret J. Park, M.Div, Center for Public Service Psychiatry
Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School

Crooked Beauty is a precious gift, a call for compassion and understanding toward the painful mysteries of artistic creativity. I believe this film can help radically change the way we view and care for so-called, mental illness.”
Will Hall, Mental Diversity Counselor and Consultant, Freedom Center Co-Founder, and Madness Radio Host

“Stunning visuals, incisive narration, and a resonant soundtrack combine in Crooked Beauty to convey a deeply personal, humane message that directly confronts reductive psychiatry and dehumanizing mental health systems. A must-see experience for anyone entrusted to provide mental health care to other people and all who care about relieving mental anguish and distress.”
Joe Behen, PhD, Director, Counseling, Health & Disability Services, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Crooked Beauty should be mandatory viewing for students and mental health professionals alike. This film underscores an essential point: those in recovery are heroes who struggle to make meaning against odds, not victims or defective units of humanity.”
Juli McGruder, PhD, Professor Emerita, University of Puget Sound

“This film will empower the incarcerated, who have often been misunderstood, dehumanized, and forgotten in the wake of their mental health struggles.”
Kathy Rose, Instructor, Five Keys Charter School, San Francisco County Jail