NEW, VERY TIMELY FILM IN THE WORKS! SEE HOW YOU CAN HELP!!
The time is so right for an important documentary film, "Execution by the Numbers," which has just gone into post production and which Paula J. Caplan is making with her awardwinning documentary team of Rock Grant, Joseph Friedman, Patricia Lee Stotter, Don Rebic, and Claire Park. You can see the trailer at https://vimeo.com/435265615.
Here's what the film is about:The shocking truth is that in the United States, people with Intellectual Disabilities (low IQs) continue to be executed, despite a 2002 SCOTUS ruling that this is unconstitutional. Most such people who are executed are horribly poor and disproportionately come from racialized groups, something eerily and tragically relevant today. The stakes are literally life-and-death, yet those with low IQs are proven to be especially vulnerable to being pressured into making false confessions and to be unable to assist in their own defense, to understand judicial proceedings, and often, to comprehend the nature and significance of being sentenced to death.
Someone who saw a short play called THE TEST that Producer/Writer Caplan wrote about this said, "Now I understand that some people on death row are human." Indeed they are. Whatever you feel about the death penalty in general, you will be moved and troubled to learn the story of these executions in particular, for what they reveal about the criminal justice system, about the crucial role psychologists play, and about us as a nation.
"Execution by the Numbers" includes sterling interviews with the late Justice John Paul Stevens, Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Institute (part of his story is told in the new film, "Just Mercy," available online now), Sister Helen Prejean ("Dead Man Walking"), and civil rights pioneer attorney Millard Farmer, as well as some who have been close to and loved those who were executed and many other unsung heroes of the story. Mike Farrell -- B.J. Hunnicutt on "M.A.S.H." and founder of @Death Penalty Focus -- has kindly agreed to do the narration.
The film's themes include what led to the change in legal history with the 2002 SCOTUS ruling, the human costs of these sentences and executions by the government, and the pulling back of the curtain on why and how the executions continue despite the SCOTUS case, and what it will take to stop them.
This project has already been endorsed by the Southern Center for Human Rights, Death Penalty Action, the Abolitionist Action Committee, and Journey of Hope...from Violence to Healing.
Tax-deductible donations may be made to Picture Social Justice, a new nonprofit (EIN number available on request) created in April that will appear in public listings once the IRS letter arrives, at https://www.gofundme.com/f/execution-by-the-numbers-documentary Donations of any amount will be gratefully received, and a tax receipt will be sent. To donate by check, please contact email@example.com for the mailing address for Picture Social Justice.
The film's website, www.executionbythenumbers.com has additional information. Watch https://www.gofundme.com/f/execution-by-the-numbers-documentary for updates. And thank you for considering helping out. We aim to finish the film this year, a stunning time to do so, in light of the way that so many white Americans are deciding it's time to take major steps to reveal and end racism. It is extremely likely that PBS will show "Execution by the Numbers," as it has done for this team's two previous films, which have had hundreds of such showings. Their most recent, completed film received an award from the U.S.Congress after being nominated by the Congressional Black Caucus.
The poster for the film is above here.
What a gift! If you want to be moved and uplifted, listen to the score that the great composer and jazz musician Rodney Jones created for the film, "Isaac Pope: The Spirit of an American Century"! Rodney beautifully captures the various themes and scenes of the film. His music will enter your heart and live there. You can listen to the score here: https://rodneyjones.bandcamp.com/album/isaac-pope-the-spirit-of-an-american-century-original-soundtrack
FREE now through June 1!!!!! Documentary producer Paula J. Caplan and IndiePix Films have teamed up to make Is Anybody Listening? FREE to stream on Vimeo through Monday June 1, starting tonight for Memorial Day Weekend! Learn more about the lives of military veterans and the important role that anyone can play in truly, simply listening to whatever they want to say. https://bit.ly/2AOfoLT
Here's my latest essay: "The President's Fitness: Can Professionals Help Decide?" https://www.madinamerica.com/2020/05/presidents-fitness-can-professionals-help-decide/ In an earlier article in that publication, the ring leader of the "Trump is mentally ill, and we psychiatrists and psychologists have special expertise to determine that" (rather than that he's evil) brigade claimed falsely that she and other shrinks are not diagnosing him. I wrote in a much earlier Huffington Post essay about why people should not call Trump mentally ill. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-truth-about-trump-and-psychiatric-diagnosis-the_b_58abb3b0e4b0417c4066c22b?guccounter=2
This new essay is about the role I think some professionals CAN play in determining fitness to serve.
No matter where you live, and whether or not you have ever served in the military, and WHATEVER your politics (this is NOT political), please consider watching our awardwinning, 50-minute film that's been endorsed by nonveterans and veterans of all kinds. It's called "Is Anybody Listening?" and here below is the latest rave(!) review of it. I love that this reviewer said it helped her understand someone close to her, and I especially love the end of her review: "The documentary is sobering and full of hope. I definitely recommend it, but not for a casual, fun movie night. Watch it, when you are ready to expand your understanding and empathy."
Now Streaming on the IndiePix Unlimited Prime Video Channel: https://amzn.to/34tFo94
Now available on DVD: https://amzn.to/38yMlIo
by Valerie Mitchell
I heard a news clip about Listen to a Veteran, so I was excited when my Is Anybody Listening? Documentary DVD arrived.... Things need to change for veterans and, also, for those of us who are watching from the outside.... Veterans need to speak their truth and they need to be heard.
The rest of us need to hear it, really hear it.
Psychologist and author Paula J. Caplan grew up listening to stories her beloved father, Jerome A. Caplan, told about being Captain of an all-Black battery in The Battle of the Bulge.
Bewildered at her inability to remember those stories, she met with and listen to hundreds of veterans whose deeply human reactions to war and rape are mistakenly, alarmingly diagnosed as mental illness.
This moved Paula to set up the nationwide non-profit Listen to a Veteran. listentoaveteran.org
This enables non-veterans to listen in wholehearted, respectful silence to whatever a veteran wants to say, reducing veterans' soul-crushing isolation and non-veterans' illiteracy about war and rape.
Paula takes us on her journey across the soul-destroying chasm between military veterans and others.
My dad didn't talk about WW2 much, when I was growing up. However, the last few years of his life, he opened up.
Learning more about that part of his life, definitely gave me a deeper understanding of him and that part of world history.
The documentary is sobering and full of hope.... Watch it, when you are ready to expand your understanding and empathy.
JUST OUT AS AN AUDIOBOOK! When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: How All of Us Can Help Veterans.
I recorded it, and the great Rock Grant did the editing. Please help spread the word to people who might want it in audiobook form. For the new audiobook -- and the e-book version -- of When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: How All of Us Can Help Veterans, so please try this one...and notice that FOR NOW, the audiobook is free for the first people who place orders! That is the policy of the company that handles it. https://www.scribl.com/books/EAXY2/when-johnny-and-jane-come-marching-home
Published as an e-book is When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: How All of Us Can Help Veterans, which was first published by MIT Press and won three top national awards for nonfiction. Happily, at my request, the publisher of the e-book, Open Road, is charging the lowered price of just $8.99.
Comments and endorsements from veterans and nonveterans and lots of information about it are at whenjohnnyandjanecomemarching.weebly.com The book gave rise to the nonprofit Listen to a Veteran Project listentoaveteran.org.
The book can be ordered at any of the following:
New article, "Moral Anguish Is Not a Mental Illness," on Volunteers for America website. https://www.voa.org/moral-anguish-is-not-a-mental-illness
The Truth About Trump and Psychiatric Diagnosis: The Lightbulb Has to Want to Change is my new post.
NO ONE on either side of this debate has written about the crucial points I note in the essay. Also available in Blog section of this Authors Guild website.
Simple, lovely ideas for Memorial Day, which is focused on those who served and who have died, include:
- Learn more about what they may have experienced by listening to a veteran from any era (combat or noncombat, woman or man) who will speak with you this weekend or soon. listentoaveteran.org
- Make a tax-deductible donation -- ANY amount, since none is too small, and all are important and appreciated -- to our documentary about a remarkable, unsung hero called "Isaac Pope: The Spirit of an American Century." You can see its trailer and other info and can donate by going to isaacpopefilm.com And please LIKE the page. #WhoIsIsaacPope?
- Organize a screening of the multi-awardwinning film, "Is Anybody Listening?" by contacting us at http://www.isanybodylisteningmovie.org/organize-screenings.…
Valentine's Day Alarm: Violence Against Women by Budget Cuts
New essay on Blog page here.
Please read it and post, tweet, forward. Thank you.
Paula J. Caplan is a clinical and research psychologist, author of books and plays, playwright, actor, director, and activist.
REVIEWS OF PLAYS:
CALL ME CRAZY
“…thoroughly entertaining… Careening from gut-wrenching seriousness to vaudeville-style antics… ingenious interchange of a dramatic play with comic sketches and musical numbers gives both satiric and somber force.”
The Off-Off-Broadway Review
“Bold, vibrant, funny, and disturbing…leaps to life…a richly provocative theatrical experience, entertaining, enlightening and profoundly disturbing all at once.”
New Bedford Standard-Times
The Off-Off-Broadway Review
“The play truly shines. All of these characters carry with them hidden insecurities, wants, needs, and inner demons that emotionally bubble under the surface from the very start, while at the same time keeping the charm and sense of humor that we all share only with our closest loved ones. Exudes family love and harmony in the midst of tragedy and pain.”
Life in LA
“fully formed…skillfully constructed play unfolds compellingly, its low-key suspense piquing our interest as we grow curious about what the characters are withholding from us — much as in life off-stage…. Caplan has a knack for particularizing that documentary vividness.”
“Riveting… poignant and touching…a pulsating inner life.”
The Off-Off-Broadway Review
“…the night’s most riveting drama…. a whirlwind of anxiety, camararderie, and tragedy, an astonishingly complete emotional roller coaster for such a short production.”
AWARDS for When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: How All of Us Can Help Veterans (MIT Press)
- Groundbreaking Book of the Month, Independent Publishers' IPPY Awards
- Best Psychology book of 2011, Association of American Publishers' PROSE Awards
- Silver Medal for Psychology/Mental Health category, 2011, Independent Publishers
D I S C L A I M E R
Paula Joan Caplan supports some things in the mental health system, but she has also raised questions about some problems in that system; as a result of the latter, some people have mistakenly concluded that she is a member or supporter of the Church of Scientology and/or its "Citizens Commission on Human Rights," but nothing could be further from the truth. She has made substantial efforts to persuade all groups that mischaracterize her work or that in various ways imply erroneously and misleadingly that she is one of their affiliates or supporters to cease and desist from doing so. Her work about mental health has been done as an independent practitioner and social and political activist.