Prince Ea, the world-renowned spoken word artist and motivational speaker, will host a special screening of a new short-film documentary, “Mackenzie,” which focuses on 17-year-old Mackenzie Larson, who candidly opens up about how the stresses of her high-achieving public school have taken a toll on her mental health and caused some of her classmates to take their own lives.
“Mackenzie” is the first of a three-part “Meaning in Madness” film series, which, “examines some of the systemic issues that are contributing to the staggering rates of teenage depression, anxiety, and suicide,” according to a release on the film.
Worried about being “deemed a failure,” Mackenzie reveals raw emotion when recounting the moment she thought about suicide as a “way out,” sharing the painful memory of looking down from a classroom balcony at a body bag below—a classmate was unable to cope with the pressure and felt like “no one was listening.”
“If the system had less of a solely performance-based mindset, I think people would be better off. If they were preparing kids to choose instead of choosing for them,” Mackenzie states in the film.
“Mackenzie” is the first film release from Straight Up Impact—a woman-owned, fully integrated media company—and a spin-off of Straight Up Films, which has produced a string of successful features, including “Transcendence,” distributed by Warner Brothers and starring Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman and Rebecca Hall.
“We’re so grateful to Mackenzie for sharing her story and hope that it ignites a deeper conversation about how the system is negatively impacting our children,” Straight Up Impact producers Kate Cohen, Marisa Polvino and Pam Roy said in a statement.
Along with “Mackenzie,” the “Meaning in Madness” docuseries will address the other key issues contributing to rising rates of depression, anxiety and suicide: abuse of pharmaceuticals and the obsession with social media.
“Mackenzie,” will premiere on May 20, which is also Mental Health Action Day, at 5 PM PDT, in a virtual screening that is free and open to everyone. In addition to the premiere screening, the one-hour event will include discussion panels with other kids who have suffered from anxiety and depression due to the pressures of our school system. To register for the premiere, sign up HERE