Documentary unMASKing HOPE Delivers Hope After Trauma During Mental Health Awareness Month

LOS ANGELES, April 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — During Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the healing journeys of trauma survivors portrayed in the documentary unMASKing HOPE from EC Productions are more critical than ever to help deliver a message of hope for a better future. The film, which also helps erase stigma faced by those grappling with mental health challenges, airs nationally on public television, and streams on the PBS app and at:

unMASKing HOPE chronicles the stories of a diverse group of survivors who have experienced unthinkable trauma—from mass shootings to chronic sexual abuse—on their way to find hope again as they shed their “masks” hiding their pain. Using inspirational stories of survivors, soulful animation and interpretive dance, the film creates empathy for trauma survivors, who are often disenfranchised from society.

“As we observe Mental Health Awareness Month, I am proud that unMASKing HOPE can bring important dialogue around trauma related mental health issues and help erase the stigma,” said unMASKing HOPE director Eric Christiansen. “Through an expanded focus in May, those who are suffering are more likely to seek help and surround themselves with those who encourage their healing.”

Review on Film Threat

Eric Christiansen’s film can act as step one in the process of saying that you don’t have to be silent anymore. You can take off your mask and know that others know what you’re going through and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
-Alan Ng

The film features top mental health professionals sharing their insight to educate viewers about the struggles that survivors face as they try to heal their wounds, including commentary from Amit Etkin, MD, PhD, Researcher and Founder and CEO of Alto Neuroscience; M. Katherine Shear, MD, Columbia, The Center for Prolonged Grief; and Arieh Y. Shalev, MD, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. unMASKing HOPE is a national partner with Give An Hour, a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming mental health by building strong and healthy individuals and communities. 

Participants featured in unMASKing HOPE include dual mass shooting survivor Molly Maurer (Rte. 91 and Borderline); Rte. 91 shooting survivor Heidi Bender Collen; child sexual assault survivor Lyman Montgomery; 9/11 survivor Rebecca Lazinger; 9/11 First Responder Jack Delaney; and Iraq veteran Sandra Lee, a survivor of MST, PTSD and TBI.

unMASKing HOPE has recently been recognized by several film festivals, including the Santa Cruz Film Festival, the Hollywood Gold Awards and the Paris Film Awards, which honored the film with a Silver Award. The documentary has aired over 750 times on public television since its premiere in January 2023.

For downloadable artwork and trailer, please access the EPK here. Find us on social @unmaskinghope.

About Eric Christiansen
Eric Christiansen is an acclaimed documentarian who has built his life’s work around socially responsible filmmaking that educates, inspires and most importantly, heals. Christiansen, a seven-time Southwestern Region Emmy Award recipient, explores the impact of trauma; how we adapt to grief; the resilience of the human spirit; and how a powerful platform for hope can help trauma survivors begin the vigilant journey of healing. A trauma survivor himself, Christiansen worked through the loss of his home and possessions in the Painted Cave Fire by creating his first film, Faces in the Fire 25 years ago. His films (Faces in the Fire, Homecoming: A Vietnam Vets Journey, Searching for Home: Coming Back from War) have been transformative in the recovery process for thousands of people whose lives have been compromised mentally, spiritually and physically by trauma.

Press Contact: 

Ariel Carpenter, ARC PR

213-248-1827 or [email protected] 

SOURCE EC Productions