Goodnight Mr. Vincent Van Gogh Livestream Q & A

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a chance, maybe even already, to catch an amazing film.

Remember when I said I had an exciting bombshell announcement to make? I can let the cat out of the bag now: author and filmmaker Lindsey Doolittle has agreed to partner with the Diversability Committee of the Chicago Public Library for the festival’s very first livestream Q & A –where you, the audience, can ask your own questions after viewing her film!

Our first year we had some audience Q and A’s that were very special, but obviously we haven’t really been able to do that since moving the festival online due to COVID restrictions. However, this will be our very first time experimenting with a virtual version of that and I think there is a lot of exciting potential there.

Lindsey seemed like a natural fit for this program as her short animated film Goodnight Mr. Vincent Van Gogh is based on the children’s book she wrote with the same name. How do we talk to children about suicide? Some people would argue, we don’t. Lindsey argues that if we can talk to children about traumatic deaths caused by illnesses like cancer, we can talk to them at an early age about death by suicide. The thing that stops us is the stigma, including the blame and the shame, surrounding the death.

Goodnight Mr. Vincent Van Gogh gently demonstrates, however, that we can explain to children that just as some people become sick with physical illness, some people can become sick with sadness and depression. She uses the tragic life of Vincent Van Gogh to illustrate the pain behind the beauty that we often overlook. This screening is very special to me personally. Believe it or not, I have a day job other than Mental Filmness, and that is as a librarian for the Chicago Public Library. Several years ago I was asked by some friends there if I would exhibit for the Diversability Committee as an artist living with bipolar disorder. Believe it or not, I think this was actually the first time I recognized that A. My depression was a disability and B. I had accomplished a lot in the face of that disability. In fact, I later learned that depression is one of the leading causes of disability in the world. The committee addresses these “invisible” disabilities just as it does physical disabilities.

In order to join the very special livestream Q & A you will need to register on the library website here to receive the Zoom link: https://chipublib.bibliocommons.com/…/615f0d88d0e33f360…. You do not need to have a Chicago Public Library card or live in Chicago to register, that is the beauty of Zoom. The screening and Q & A will be Wednesday, October 27th, at 6:30 p.m. I would like to thank the Diversability Committee for once again reaching out to me to highlight mental health accomplishments, and to thank art educator, author, artist, filmmaker, and suicide loss survivor Lindsey Doolittle for her time and for starting this important conversation.

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