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Release: Immediate

UI to host premiere of documentary film about schizophrenia

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Midwest premiere of a documentary film about schizophrenia will be shown at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, at Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.

The film, "I'm Still Here...The Truth About Schizophrenia," features a number of Iowans affected directly and indirectly by schizophrenia. It was made in consultation with UI psychiatry professor Dr. Nancy Andreasen, who directs the UI Mental Health Clinical Research Center (MHCRC) at the UI Hospitals and Clinics. The center is recognized internationally as a leader in schizophrenia research.

Robert Bilheimer, an Academy Award nominee for his South African documentary, "The Cry of Reason," directed the film. He describes it as a journey of discovery and understanding.

"In the beginning, it appeared that schizophrenia was about suffering, stigma and loss," Bilheimer says. "And there's no doubt that those words describe emotions and realities that millions of Americans who are connected with this illness one way or another experience every day. But as work on the film progressed, it also became clear that people with schizophrenia, despite the radical alterations inflicted on their personalities and perceptions by a chemical imbalance in the brain, often retain a dignity, courage, and sense of self that is truly inspiring. There were already lots of educational videos, so the concept here was to do it through the eyes of the individual, to let people talk for themselves."

"I'm Still Here...The Truth About Schizophrenia," is a joint project of the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, and the Wheeler Communication Group.

Complimentary tickets for the premiere showing -- which is open to students, professionals, and the general public -- are required. Reservations may be obtained by calling the MHCRC between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays at (319) 356-4720.