Marian Miner Cook

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC


Mental Health and Film/TV Depictions

Tue, April 11, 2023
Dinner Program
David E. Tolchinsky P'20

How can genres like comedy and horror be tools for depicting mental health? When should we strive to be accurate in our mental health depictions? When does creative license trump accuracy? What are the ethics of representing trauma on screen? Using clips from various television and films such as Modern Love, Monster: The Jeffery Dahmer Story, the Babadook, Good Will Hunting, Two Distant Strangers, Jerrod Carmichael's Rothaniel, and No Crying at the Dinner Table, David E. Tolchinsky P’20, filmmaker and professor of Radio/Television/Film at Northwestern University, will discuss if and how film/television can help normalize mental health.

Photo credit: Stephen Lewis


David E. Tolchinsky P'20 is a filmmaker and professor of Radio/Television/Film at Northwestern University. He co-founded and directed NU's MFA in Writing for Screen+Stage program, was chair of RTVF for 11 years, and recently co-founded and now directs the Pritzker Pucker Studio Lab for the Promotion of Mental Health via Cinematic Arts at Northwestern. 

His work, which spans comedy and darker fare, often involves trauma, memory, and mental illness. His short Cassandra, available on Alter, Apple, and Amazon, has won over 11 awards internationally and is currently being developed into a feature. He produced and scored the NYTimes Op-Doc Contaminated Memories, directed by Debra Tolchinsky, produced Creature Companion, directed by Melika Bass, and recently produced Shudder/AMC's feature Night's End, directed by Jennifer Reeder. He was recently invited by Psychology Today to start a blog, Screenology: pondering mental health and media. He's written screenplays for various Hollywood studios and has written and directed plays performed in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. He graduated from Yale (BA) and the USC School of Cinematic Arts (MFA).

Photo credit: Stephen Lewis


Food for Thought: Podcast with David Tolchinsky P'20


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