In this real-life story, people transform past tragedy and adversity into wellness and hope.
After 47 years, Jonathan reconnects with Ditta Oliker the mother of his boyhood friend David, who was victim of a mass murder in the Santa Cruz mountains in 1973. Jonathan finds Ditta emerged from her despair to become a PhD psychotherapist and author, practicing for the next 40+ years and achieving crucial insights to help people break free of their past to achieve their inner potential. She heals through healing others. Ditta, now age 91, and a former patient, Kirby Tepper, a Broadway performer, reveal how the “childhood survival system” persists to confine adults to past relationships without their conscious knowledge. To help explain it, Ditta interprets the Snow White fable as a metaphor of human psychology, and Kirby, a gay man, tells his personal mental health story of breaking free. Recognizing this ‘survival system’ gives agency to a person to move beyond what they ‘needed to be’ as a child, and be who they want to be, as an adult. Both Ditta and Kirby inspire Jonathan to “find my Snow White”, reassess the alienation which drove him to leave home as a teenager, and see a larger picture. Also, while visiting Ditta, Jonathan discovers a poem he wrote as a teenager among his friend’s papers. It strangely foretells Jonathan would come full circle many years later, to cope with what happened.
The film conveys a strong message of hope – that emotional healing is possible, and that self-renewal and finding life’s purpose is within reach.
This, we believe, is the unique offering of the film.
Seeing this film is important for anyone who has emotional trauma or loss or childhood experiences that negatively affect their potential to live life fully as an adult, and is important for the family, friends or colleagues who care for that person, too.
The film provokes important discussion about mental health, family expectations, patterns set in youth, the value of psychology, the importance of personal connection and reflection, and making positive choices for self-renewal and discovery. It encourages talking openly about mental health.
We look forward to having the possibility to share this film with your audiences. It specifically addresses concerns of mothers in middle age seeking new directions while overcoming emotional trauma, as well as many concerns of seniors, youth and people who grapple with issues of growing up LGBTQ.
Directed by Fiona McDougall (USA)