Mental Health Film Director

Reduce Mental Illness Stigma Profile Story Marcia

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Marcia Kimpton – Independent Film Maker Raising Funds for Brain Health

Marcia Kimpton’s efforts to help the public better understand the real-life challenges of brain illnesses is personal and influenced by the brain health struggles her brother experienced. Like the many of us who have a family member with a brain health condition, Marcia wants to help those who are facing similar situations while also supporting the acceleration of brain health research.

She is doing so through BARDO BLUES, the semi-autobiographical feature film she wrote, directed and acted in that was released publicly in early May 2019. To help accelerate brain health research, Marcia is donating 10% of the film’s ticket sales and iTunes download revenues to One Mind.

Marcia’s brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia in the late 1990’s while he was in his twenties. Originally from San Francisco, in 2001, he moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts to live near the hospital he was admitted into that specialized in schizophrenia treatment and care. He was a natural athlete who exercised daily based on his belief that physical exercise improved mental stability. Influenced by this, Marcia’s brother became instrumental in the creation of a patient-only gym at the hospital he attended. He was also a highly talented artist who worked with 3D rendering programs to create extraordinary art pieces made out of wood, Plexiglas and resin. Several of his pieces were put on display at the hospital he attended. In 2012, he moved back to San Francisco to be close to his family and to continue his treatment at the University of California, San Francisco.

Although he had his own brain health challenges, Marcia’s brother was keenly aware of others and eager to help them when he could. It was with this compassion that he agreed to help Marcia finance BARDO BLUES. As a relatively new female director, Marcia was having difficulties finding investors in her film, so he stepped in to become the sole investor of the film.

Marcia wrote the script for BARDO BLUES based loosely on the life experiences she and her brother had during his brain health challenges. BARDO BLUES follows the main character as he struggles to learn the truth about the mother who abandoned him as well as his own reason for existing. The movie weaves spiritual awakenings and soulful struggles, leaving the viewer to question everything they think they know about who they are, where they came from and where they are going.

On a relatively tight budget, Marcia filmed the bulk of the movie onsite in Thailand in only 16 days. She chose Thailand because she believed it reflected the heavenly and hellish part of the journey within one’s mind. Not wanting to ask her brother for more money for the film, Marcia filmed the rest of the movie in Los Angeles, delaying it for four months so that she could save up and pay for it with her own money. It was on the last day of filming in Los Angeles when Marcia received the phone call informing her that her brother had taken his life.

In response to her brother’s suicide, during the months that followed, Marcia hatched her plan to leverage her film as a beneficiary to raise funds for brain health research.

“A number of my friends and contacts told me about One Mind and the amazing brain health work they do” states Marcia. “Then, after getting the chance to meet and talk with Garen Staglin, a co-founder of One Mind, I knew they were the non-profit I wanted to help them out.”

To date, BARDO BLUES has won 35 film festival awards including a ‘Best Film’ award at the Amsterdam International Filmmaker Festival, the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards and Canada’s Yes! Let’s Make a Movie Film Festival. It has also won awards for best cinematography, best editing and best lead actor and was a semi-finalist at the World of Film International Festival in Glasgow, Scotland. In parallel, Marcia won a best actress award at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival for her lead role in the film.

As a tribute to her brother, Marcia has included a picture of him and his art in the ending credits of the film that explains her personal mission to help find treatments for brain illness. She is planning a 10-city promotional tour for BARDO BLUES that will take place in September to October and end on World Mental Health Day (Oct 10th). Her intent for the tour is to promote the film and to engage with the audiences to discuss brain health. More details about the tour will be posted on her website linked below.

Links to watch the BARDO BLUES trailer and to purchase the iTunes download of the film are available on www.bardoblues.com. BARDO BLUES also has a Facebook page linked here.


More on Marcia Kimpton:

Marcia currently lives in Aspen Colorado after having lived in New York City and Los Angeles for many years. Building off of her past experiences of producing and directing her own late-night shows, TV pilots and web series, BARDO BLUES represents Marcia’s first venture into producing and directing feature length films. Her second film called “My Reality” is a mock documentary about the Queen of Late night who after losing her job settles for reality TV to pay the bills.

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