Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square


Year: 2001
Country: United States
Run Time: 108 minutes

Last year the most wrenching moments in the CIFF belonged not to any scripted plot, but to a special preview of this verit? documentary masterpiece hosted by filmmakers Bill Lichtenstein and June Peoples. Now we can present the feature. Its timeline encompasses four years in the lives of Fountain House, a pioneering New York City center for the voluntary care and shelter of the mentally ill ? many of whom were previously homeless. In 1996 Bill Lichtenstein and June Peoples set out to document the lives of people with mental illness, following five Fountain House patients through their divergent trajectories of recovery, relapse, sickness, suicide and survival. The camera, always respectful, never voyeuristic, accompanies Nathaniel ?Tex? Gordon, in and out of institutions since first being committed in 1949. Now he finally earns his certificate of legal competency and celebrates with a jaunt to Vegas. Jamaican-born Fitzroy Frederick unwisely puts his trust in imported island herbal cures instead of modern pharmaceuticals to keep his volcanic rage in check. Both Zeinab Wali and Edith Shuttleworth hear voices in their heads, and strive to resist obeying their destructive demands. Finally Frances Olivera lobbies on behalf of the mentally ill, even as physical disease ravages him. WEST 47TH STREET is an intimate saga that will touch everyone in the audience.

Bill Lichtenstein, June Peoples

Bill Lichtenstein, June Peoples

Bill Lichtenstein, Mark Peterson

Spiro C. Lampros

Film Contact
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