Photo © Allison Levenson

Earlier this year, board members from the Tam Union High School District Wellness Center came to us looking for a new and meaningful forum to address some of the issues that they see students and parents struggling with every day—issues related to health, mental health, substance abuse, and sexual health. Their goal was to encourage parents, caregivers, and teens to explore and talk about these issues together in a safe and inspiring community space—and they recognized the power of film to make that happen. “It has been a dream of ours to do a film series to showcase all of the amazing movies that highlight teen wellness,” said TUHSD Wellness Director Jessica Colvin, “and the partnership with CFI has been a perfect fit for our community.” CFI Education could not have agreed more, and the Teen Wellness Film Series was soon born. 

The Mill Valley Film Festival turned out to be the perfect opportunity to launch this new program, with a powerful locally produced documentary about teen anxiety called Angst. On October 9, the film screened to a sold-out house at the Smith Rafael Film Center, followed by an extended panel discussion with the filmmaker, two mental health professionals, and a father and daughter featured in the film, in conversation with the audience. Participants also went home with a set of discussion questions designed to support ongoing dialogue amongst families.

The quarterly series continues on select Tuesday evenings at 6:30pm at the Rafael Film Center, with each event featuring a film screening (curated by CFI Education) followed by a panel discussion (curated by the Wellness Center). The second installment took place on November 27 with a screening of I Am Maris, a documentary about a Bay Area teen who copes with anxiety, depression, and anorexia through art and yoga. An affecting and empowering conversation followed with a theater predominantly filled with mothers and their teen daughters. We continue the program on March 12 with a screening of The Mask You Live In, Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s film about boys and the narrow definition of masculinity in America.

We are grateful for the generosity of Kaiser Permanente as a sponsor of the Teen Wellness Film Series, making it possible for a portion of the program proceeds to go directly to support TUHSD Wellness Centers. After our first two highly successful screenings this fall, we will be donating $3,000 to the Wellness Centers to support the great work they are doing to serve our community and our youth.

CLICK HERE for more information about the Teen Wellness Film Series.

Photo © Steve Disenhof