Kicking off the second half of this year’s Documentary Premieres: Barbara Kopple’s RUNNING FROM CRAZY, a portrait of a famed family and its struggle with mental illness.
Sundance Program Description:
Hailed as one of the most distinguished families in American literature, the Hemingways have always exposed both their bright brilliance and their harrowing secrets. Two-time Academy Award winner and the only person to sweep all three of the Sundance Film Festival’s documentary awards for AMERICAN DREAM, Barbara Kopple focuses her newest film on Mariel Hemingway, a granddaughter of the legendary writer Ernest, as she explores her family’s disturbing history of mental illness and suicide. As a youngster, Mariel followed her supermodel sister, Margaux, into the acting world. Critics immediately praised Mariel’s natural talent, which created a deep rift between the sisters.
Kopple’s bold portrait of the Hemingways intertwines haunting archival footage from Margaux’s personal family documentary with scenes from Mariel’s life today as she advocates for suicide prevention and strives to live a rigorously healthy lifestyle to combat what appears to be her birthright. Mariel’s courageous journey of acceptance and introspection allows her to view her family and turbulent upbringing through new eyes and, for the first time, accept them with a peaceful heart.
Kopple is one of the country’s most acclaimed documentarians. Her restored and remastered 1976 Academy Award-winning HARLAN COUNTY USA screened at Sundance in 2005, and additional films have screened at the festival as well: MY GENERATION (2000), WILD MAN BLUES (1998), and the Academy Award-winning and Sundance award-winning AMERICAN DREAM (1991). She also produced Sundance alum AMERICAN STANDOFF (2002). She is joined by her frequent producer David Cassidy and associate producers Kelly Brennan and Madeleine Akers (THE UNFORESEEN (2007). Serving as executive producers are Oprah Winfrey, OWN’s Erica Forstadt, and Lisa Erspamer.
Why You Should Watch:
Documentary fans should always check out Kopple’s work, but beyond that, her newest film expertly weaves in and out of the history of the Hemingway clan and Mariel’s present-day activities in an engaging manner. Mariel is an open, warm guide through her family’s often tragic past, providing intimate access to old home movies and to the especially intriguing documentary project her sister Margaux was making, parts of which are excerpted here.
For more information about the doc, visit its Facebook page. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.