June 7, 2022 – Coming Up for Air, an award-winning feature drama focusing on the key role caregivers play in promoting family wellness, is scheduled to play at the Vero Beach Film Festival. Event attendees will have two opportunities to see the film – Friday, June 9, at 3:00 pm at the Vero Beach Theatre Guild and Sunday, June 12, at 3:00 pm at the Indian River County Chambers.

The Sunday afternoon screening is open to the public and free for all who attend. The film will be followed by a town hall discussion with Suncoast Mental Health Center experts, the film’s producer/screenwriter Roger Rapoport, and Milo Thornton from the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.

The acclaimed drama has won six best feature awards at festivals worldwide and 20 other honors.

“It is with excitement and appreciation that we participate in this year’s event, the first since 2019,” says Suncoast Mental Health Center CEO Debra Engle. “We are especially grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Vero Beach Film Festival to present this powerful and insightful film and share its important message with the community we serve.”

This Robert Cicchini directed film, with breakout performances from acclaimed Milwaukee’s Deborah Staples (seven best actress awards) and Portage native Chase Yi, is being hailed as a picture igniting a national conversation about the significant role caregivers play in helping loved ones recover from mental illness.

Coming Up for Air tells the story of ceramic artist Anna Russell and her son Stan, a straight A college student and high diving champion, seeking a spot on the men’s 10m Olympic diving team. The pressure and stress to succeed in his high-stakes athletic competitions, while maintaining his grades and a social life, begin to take their toll. Stan starts to unravel, quits the team and disappears.  It’s up to his mother to track him down and bring him back to wellness. The film takes audiences on an all-too-common journey, highlighting the pressures that are put upon teenagers to succeed and on parents to cope.

Director Cicchini, a veteran film (Godfather III), television (Six Feet Under) and stage actor says:

“This very topical new film will inspire empathy and awareness of the complexities of personal responsibility. It addresses how crises that may lead to tragedy can be de-escalated and creates an appreciation of how families can promote wellness. It will also support community discussions of the real conditions and biases toward effective mental health treatment.”

The film was shot on location in Muskegon, Grand Haven, Holland, Pentwater, Ann Arbor and Milwaukee with a cast featuring acclaimed stage actors from many award-winning Michigan and Wisconsin theaters. They include Portage’s Kate Thomsen, who starred in Rapoport’s previous film Pilot Error.

The film’s trailer is at https://vimeo.com/356881427  More details at comingupforairmovie.com

About Suncoast Mental Health Center, Inc. (SMHC)

 Suncoast Mental Health Center, Inc. (SMHC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization accredited by the Joint Commission Committee and dedicated to providing quality mental health care to residents of the Treasure Coast.

 SMHC was founded in 1998 by three clinicians whose goal was to provide mental and behavioral health services to their local community. These services were to include children and families considered to be at-risk and considered to have limited resources.

 SMHC is a leading mental health agency that provides therapeutic, case management and psychiatric treatment services to children and adults. Traditional and non-traditional services are available in four counties across the Treasure Coast: Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Okeechobee.

 SMHC’s goal is to assist all clients in reaching their fullest potential. Core values include celebrating diversity, promoting recovery, using quality programs, aiding in public awareness, collaborating with clients and other agencies, and integrating technology to improve efficiency and quality of care.

SMHC is dedicated to community-based and family-centered care to help ensure positive mental health for every child, adult and family. Services are offered in a variety of settings including but not limited to home, community, activity centers, school and/or telehealth. The agency also offers family benefits services to eligible clients in need.

For more information, visit www.suncoastmentalhealth.org or call 772-489-4726.