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Press Release

For Immediate Release

Short Documentary chosen for the New York International Film and Video Festival

February 14, 2005 (Palm Beach, FL)

"Comfortably Numb," is an official selection of the New York International Film and Video Festival which will take place in New York City April 28 through May 8, 2005.

Comfortably Numb, a low-budget Indie, is a riveting short documentary that portrays the devastating effects of psychiatric drugs prescribed to more than 8 million American children. Children as young as two years old are being given powerful, mind-altering drugs, most of which have not been properly tested or approved for use in children. This Documentary pierces the wall of secrecy that surrounds the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry and exposes the flaws in a system that creates riches for some while it devastates the lives of others.

Gloria Berman, the Producer of Comfortably Numb, created the Best Horizons Foundation, a non-profit organization, which promotes awareness of this problem and supports innovative programs to find alternative solutions. Through collaboration on this project with award-winning producer Cindy Castoro, composer Alva Nelson, and other artists, Berman was able to deliver an artistically intriguing work that packs a powerful message: we must heed the warning against casual acceptance of this problem.

Through interviews with medical experts, David Cohen, Ph.D., and Barry Duncan, Psy. D., Berman taps into a kaleidoscope of human emotion. An especially poignant conversation with Nicole, a teenager who was prescribed an excessive amount of medication and attempted to kill herself as a result, demands that light be shed on this crisis. Although difficult, Nicole shares her story because she hopes to help other children and caution parents to observe the warning signs.

Berman was stirred when her grandson was diagnosed with ADHD. Berman's daughter, Christina Ouilette, was subsequently told that her son had Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ultimately, that he had Bipolar Disorder. This fluctuation of medical diagnoses resulted in a constant variation in the amount and intensification of his medication. The physical effects on him were drastic, and the family decided enough was enough. His mother couldn't believe how he changed; she knew that it was not he and that it had to be the medication.

As a result of this personal experience, Berman's daughter sold her home to open a school for children who learn differently, the Pima Academy in Tucson, Arizona. Fortunately, Berman's grandson has now been correctly diagnosed as having Mild Autism, and thrives with no medication.

The sacrifices of her daughter Christina, as well as the courage of Nicole, and other children she observed, inspired Berman to make this film in order to shed light on a serious problem that continues to grow in the United States. Her passion about this crisis has compelled Berman to start another film that will offer alternative approaches for parents and teachers. “It breaks my heart to see families suffering when there are other options,” said Berman. “I see children receive diagnosis after diagnosis, I see children who attempt suicide, children who die as a result of taking medications. This has to stop.”

For more information, or to make a contribution to the Best Horizons Foundation, a non-profit organization, please visit www.besthorizons.com.


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