A youth focused, youth driven film series integrating narrative filmmaking, spoken word poetry and commissioned art, designed to generate conversations that change the narrative on learning disabilities and mental health stigmas.
‘Shut Down The Stigma. Turn Up The Talk’ is inspired by the many students at Fourthwall who have been touched in some way by mental health disorders and learning disabilities, whether through their own diagnosis or that of a family member or friend. Covid-19 has amplified mental health issues, particularly among our vulnerable young adults.
Filmmaking offers a unique platform for young people to express their feelings and tell their stories. The experience of making a film can change their lives and, just as importantly, their stories can inspire change in the lives of others.
These films will help build awareness and understanding, promoting peer-to-peer conversation and encouraging teens to take action on their learning disabilities and their mental health. Sometimes they just don’t know where to turn. We know we can make a difference. We are grateful for your support.
”Early diagnosis and appropriate services for children and their families can make a difference in the lives of children with mental disorders.Center For Disease Control and Mental Health
Many adolescents who have been diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADHD, also experience a higher incidence of other disorders which affects their well being, ability to learn, and how they handle stress. The following statistics are from the CDC for children ages 3-17 from 2016-2019. It’s important to note that ADHD, Anxiety, and Depression become more common with increased age. The rate of Depression and Anxiety among adolescents has been increasing over the past 10 years. The percentage of adolescents who consider Suicide is alarming.
Once student crews are hired and trained, they will go into the field and conduct focus groups with other teens. Their research will help inform the themes, direction, creative treatment and language of each film.
- Learning disabilities and mental health are under diagnosed and under treated.
- Adolescents with mental health disorders find it difficult to express how they feel
- Current educational material is ineffective and has a grown up point-of-view
- Film is a medium adolescents understand.
- Peers represent a voice they respect and listen to.
- Poetry and art are increasing in popularity among adolescents as a way to give voice to their opinions on important social and personal issues.
‘Shut Down The Stigma. Turn Up The Talk.’ will be written, produced and directed by area teens, trained and mentored by Fourthwall. These will be paid after school and summer crew positions.
In addition to filmmaking skills, each crew member will also develop cognitive, interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies including collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, empathy, initiative, goal setting and more.
Research & Focus Groups
Story & Scriptwriting
Film Project Topics
Advisors & Partners (So far)
Maria Sulcer, Outreach Specialist, Lindner Center of Hope
Dr. Megan Murray, PhD, Psychology
Courtney Matarazzo, Parent
Karen Aust, Parent
Activities Beyond The Classroom
Here are some previous Fourthwall student films which have inspired this project.
A short film on Dyslexia which was produced at a Fourthwall summer camp and has been an inspiration to develop ‘Shut Down The Stigma. Turn Up The Talk.’
When The Smoke Clears 5:37
This film on the dangers of vaping was underwritten by St. Elizabeth Healthcare and produced by high schoolers and directed to middle schoolers. This scenario driven film was intended to be shown in class in Kentucky schools to start the conversation on vaping. All crew positions were paid.
Away Yet Awake. An Immigrant Experience 4:28
Combining spoken word and film ‘Away Yet Awake’ tells the story of the hopes and challenges that young refugees experience as they settle in to their new home…Cincinnati.
Campaign Starts Jan. ’23
Thank You To Our Supporters To Date
Greater Cincinnati Foundation | Executive Producer Level
Sally and Randy Scott | Executive Producer Level
Artswave | Executive Producer Level
Dr. Megan Murray | Producer Level
Karen Aust | Co-Producer level
George Fabe Fund | Co-Producer Level
Leigh and Dan Gorman | Co-Producer Level
Eisha and Timothy Armstrong Family Fund | Assistant Producer Level
Sarah Jurgensen | Friend of Fourthwall
Scott Avera | Friend of Fourthwall
Kathleen Walker | Friend of Fourthwall
$10.000 and above ‘Executive Producer’ – Top Billing, Opening & Closing Credits
$5,000 – $9,999 ‘Producer’ – Top Billing, Opening Credits
$1,000-$4,999 ‘Co-Producers’ – Opening & Closing Credits
$500-$999 ‘Assistant Producer’ – Closing Credits
Up to $499 ‘Friends’ – Closing Credits
- Each Disability & Mental Health topic will be handled through a separate film
- Each film will have a separate 7 to 10 person student crew who will conduct additional research, write the script, and shoot and edit the film
- Each student crew member will be paid $11/hr or better
- Average number of hours per student crew member is 60 hrs.
- Each student crew will be supervised and mentored by 2 x Teaching Artists (TA)
- Student crew members will receive training in the filmmaking process, in research and focus groups, writing proposals, oral presentations, project management, character strength activation and more
- Films will be shown at area schools
Project Schedule (Proposed)
Research and Development | In Process
Film 1- Depression| Principal Photography June '23
Film 2 - Anxiety | Principal Photography July '23
Film 3- Learning Disabilities | Principal Photography September '23
Film 4 - Substance| Principal Photography October '23
Film 5 - Suicide Prevention | Principal Photography Jan '24
Roadshow Starts September '23
I got to work with equipment I would never have access to, build stories and make art I am so proud of, and meet a group of the best people I ever met. I was in a really bad place before this and I cannot begin to explain how much this experience meant to me. It made me excited to get up in the morning and do something I love. I will never forget this summer.Student
[My son] was really bullied in early grade school as a little creative and sensitive kid with Dyslexia and I saw his spirit break. I have watched him step into a confident, compassionate person full of dreams and belief in himself. The difference Fourthwall has made is significant and I hope you are reminded of it often.Parent of Student with Dyslexia
To the little kid from a traumatic background with little to no guidance. The kid who didn’t know what he wanted out of life. The kid who cried big tears wondering where his father went. The kid who saw shootings from his balcony. The kid who just wanted to be great. Spoiler alert, the kid is all grown up now. That kid GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL. That kid will be the FIRST to go to COLLEGE. That kid started a film production business at 16. That kid is genuinely happy. That kid is me, Xander Dean Wynn. And it all started with Fourthwall. Could not have done it without you.Xander (Student)