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September, 2007

CANVAS Hits Theaters

Family-themed drama needs your help—no matter where you live

Canvas Movie PosterDuring Mental Illness Awareness Week 2007, the movie CANVAS  will begin its commercial theatrical release, weaving entertainment with public education. Whether its impact will be felt nationwide depends on how well it plays, in terms of tickets sold, in its opening weekends in five cities.

The crucial tests will be in Chicago and New York City on October 12 and in Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, and Phoenix on October 19.  If Friday and Saturday ticket sales are profitable in those cities, the movie’s commercial release is expected to expand to 200 more cities nationwide. If so, NAMI messages will reach millions of Americans.

Starring Academy Award-winning actor Marcia Gay Harden (“Pollock”) and Emmy Award-winning actor Joe Pantoliano (“The Sopranos”), CANVAS is inspired by the experience of film director Joseph Greco, who came of age as his mother struggled with schizophrenia. The film educates while providing humor and hope in a way that can appeal to popular audiences. It also can help eliminate stigma—if enough people see it.

Earlier this year at NAMI’s annual convention, Greco, a NAMI member, Pantoliano, and 12-year-old actor Devon Gearhart asked NAMI members for help in supporting the film and bringing it to a broader audience.

There are many ways to help. You don’t even have to actually live in one of the five cities.

  • Send special emails with a personal message to family, friends, and colleagues who live in the Chicago, NYC, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Ft. Lauderdale areas to promote the film. Spread the word on listserv networks to promote the film. Include the address link with the film’s trailer. Feel free to forward or cut and paste this article.
  • Buy tickets on-line early the week of each release (even if you live elsewhere), for individuals or groups.
  • Go to the movie with friends. Donate tickets to community groups. Reach out especially to friends or groups who may have no direct understanding or experience with mental illness. In one instance, a suburban NAMI affiliate is considering organizing a bus trip into the city.

Theater locations (below) currently are available for four of the five cities. Check local listings or other sources for the Ft. Lauderdale location as the release date approaches.

  • In Chicago, starting October 12: AMC Loews 600 North Michigan 9, 600 N. Michigan Ave. 60611
  • In New York, starting October 12: Regal Union Square Stadium 14, 850 Broadway, 10003
  • In Los Angeles, starting October 19:  Laemmie Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Boulevard, 90046
  • In Phoenix, starting October 19: Harkins Shea 14, 7354 E. Shea Blvd, (Scottsdale) 85260

Canvas Faces

 CANVAS director Joe Greco, and stars Devon Gearhart and Joe Pantoliano take questions from NAMI members after a screening at the 2007 NAMI Convention in San Diego; actress Marcia Gay Harden as Mary Marino in the film.

Related articles:

CANVAS: Sailing Forward, Three Dramas in One (July 2007)

On the Making of CANVAS, by Joseph Greco (November 2006)


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