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Drunk on Too Much Life

Catalogue Number:  PVP003
Producer:  Parallel Vision Pictures
Producing Agencies:  Parallel Vision Productions, School of Image Arts at FCAD
Subject:  Canadian Social Issues, Documentary, Guidance, Health, Psychology, Science, Social Issues, Social Sciences, Sociology
Language:  English
Grade Level:  9 - 12, Post Secondary, Adult
Country Of Origin:  Canada
Copyright Year:  2021
Running Time:  76:43

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In a world where normal is crazy, this film uncovers how madness makes us more fully human.

The number of adults and children who struggle with their mental health has skyrocketed over the past thirty years in spite of the fact that the spending on pharmaceutical medications has increased 80 fold. Five out of six young adults do not have access to the mental health services they need. Clearly there is a problem here. This film tells a different story –one that embraces transformative and holistic mental health, autonomy and resilience. Drunk on Too Much Life (DOTML) is a poetic and intimate journey of resilience and discovery. It follows the filmmaker’s daughter Corrina from grey, institutional hallways of locked-down psych wards, countless medications, and diagnostic labels into expansive worlds of colour, music, poetry, community, connection and greater meaning. On their journey, the family learns that madness has meaning that goes far beyond brain chemistry. Recovery is not a straight path to being cured but a crooked and bumpy journey and series of small awakenings.

“Must See selection.” – Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television

“"Drunk on Too Much Life" is a brave and powerful personal documentary that radically makes us rethink 'mental illness’. It is a must-view film for mental health practitioners and families alike as it offers a unique, holistic, and much-needed perspective on the journey towards recovery." - Samantha Wehbi, MSW, RSW, MFA, PhD, Professor, School of Social Work

Toronto Metropolitan University (Formerly Ryerson University) 

""Drunk on Too Much Life" tells an expansive story of mental health that uplifts all facets of what makes us human: creativity, connection, and culture. The documentary invites the audience to transcend an illness-only paradigm of mental health, and witness the transformative potential when storytelling and meaning-making are foregrounded in these experiences." - Jessie Roth, Director, Institute for the Development of Human Arts, NYC

 “"Drunk on Too Much Life" is a deeply searching film of fear and redemption in the face of a crisis of the mind.” - Daniel Berner, author of The Mind and the Moon, Contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine

 "I am thankful to Michelle Melles and her family for the opportunity to watch this compelling and challenging documentary.  As someone who feels most at home at the intersection of music and mental health, I was delighted to see the threads of music, art and family woven into Corrina’s recovery story. Much like the music which infuses the film, there is an unwavering sense of optimism throughout the film as well as a commitment to breaking down the seemingly arbitrary divisions that remain in our siloed mental health system.

 Much like the music which infuses the film, there is an unwavering sense of optimism throughout the film as well as a commitment to breaking down the seemingly arbitrary divisions that remain in our siloed mental health system. There were several difficult moments in the film in which I found myself talking back to the screen.  Perhaps this is a strong indication that the film accomplishes what it sets out to do—namely to initiate conversations about recovery, about fragmentation of mental health care, about the multiplicity of factors contributing to wellness.  Once again, I am humbled when thinking about our fragmented system, the challenge of treating the whole person and the limitations of our clinical language and applaud Corrina, Pedro and Michelle for this thoughtful film." - Ken Harrison, MD

University Health Network, RECONNECT Community Health Services, University of Toronto Department of Psychiatry

“We’ve all heard stories of mad artists or seen biopics about creative geniuses who channelled their inner demons into radical, transformative art. The doc explores these ideas with a personal approach as Corrina and other mental health advocates inspire audiences to frame the ways in which we perceive and discuss mental health.” - Patrick Mullen POV Magazine

"An important film that invites us to examine our preconceptions about mental illness and the way language and labels limit our understanding. Deeply intimate and compassionate, this film teaches us that we are all connected and that healing takes place in community." - Dagmar Schroeder, Stella's Place Young Adult Mental Health Toronto

 “Melles' film, Drunk on Too Much Life is an intimate, emotional journey of recovery that’s consistently compelling and thought-provoking…. Drunk on Too Much Life offers a new perspective on how society views mental illness.” -

“[Drunk on Too Much Life] strives to change how people perceive those with mental health issues framing their conditions as potentially insightful gives rather than burdensome disorders and will lead to conversations about ways the Canadian [and American] mental health programme succeeds and fails to accommodate and support young people in their healing.” - Toronto Guardian

""Drunk on Too Much Life" is a beautiful exploration of a family's journey to understand, survive, and celebrate their daughter's mental health challenges. Through a heartfelt examination of language, mysticism, art, and nature, this film questions so much of what we know about psychosis and alternate realities and has the power to change how we understand and approach treatment and healing." - Elisa Gorez, MSW, RSW, Stella's Place, Young Adult Mental Health, Toronto

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