This Music and mental health doc-opera is exactly what we need right now

12/19/2017 01:24 pm ET Updated Dec 20, 2017

Mental health activist and filmmaker Ken Paul Rosenthal has teamed up with legendary riot-grrrl cellist, singer, and musical co-conspirator Bonfire Madigan Shive to create an epic musical documentary, or Doc-Opera, if you will, dubbed Whisper Rapture: A Bonfire Madigan Suite. The duo are currently crowdfunding to complete the film by mid-January 2018. Following a year on the film festival circuit, Madigan and Ken will tour with the film and live cello performances, internationally.

The project’s website explains:

Whisper Rapture: A Bonfire Madigan Suite is a visionary music and mental health doc-opera about cellist-vocalist Madigan Shive's journey from traumatized youth to virtuoso musician and pioneering mental health activist. Her childhood conversations with a fantasy companion named 'Whisper' and her adult experiences with hearing voices and suicidal despair are channeled into avant-garde pop, punk-influenced chamber music, and a progressive healing culture that transcends the restrictive pathologies of mainstream psychiatry. Images from natural and urban environments illuminate six of Madigan's original compositions. Each song is interspersed with her radical views on managing madness and her path towards wellness through making music.

The Indiegogo page for the project describes Bonfire Madigan’s musical impact:

Madigan’s trailblazing music is “built on the soul of the blues, the riot of punk, the playfulness of burlesque, and the sophistication of the orchestra pit.” She has been referred to as the “bastard child of Bjork and Tom Waits,” the “Bruce Springsteen of chamber punk,” and has collaborated with numerous influential musicians such as: Cat Power, Elliott Smith, and Jolie Holland. Madigan is a contributing author to the anthology, Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction, and a founding collective member of The Icarus Project, a progressive, peer led mental health community and support network

And Director Ken Paul Rosenthal says:

I am committed to producing innovative mental health themed documentaries that help alleviate human suffering. Since 2010, I’ve presented my work at college psychology departments and counseling centers, peer support networks, and  symposium worldwide. Over the course of more than three hundred and fifty in-person screenings, I’ve observed how deeply my emotionally immersive documentaries engage audiences and build community through mutually supportive post-film dialogue. My Mad Dance Mental Health Film Trilogy has collectively won nineteen awards and screened in sixty film festivals, internationally. Acclaimed filmmaker, Alan Berliner (First Cousin Once Removed) referred to these films as, “That rare cinematic feat that combines ineffably compelling artistry, poetics, and visual beauty with compassion, daring, and a heartfelt sense of purpose.”

Check out more info, an extensive blog, and interviews about Whisper Rapture: A Bonfire Madigan Suite here.

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