Thursday, July 15, 2010

As Good As It Gets for an OCD Filmmaker

If you are someone who suffers from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and have made a first-person POV documentary, OCD87, all about your struggles with the condition, there would be few better places for the official premiere than an inaugural OCD Film Festival. That's the case with Bud Clayman, whose self-portrait debuted tonight in Washington, D.C. alongside two other films ahead of this weekend's International OCD Foundation annual conference.

Before he was diagnosed with OCD and Asperger's Syndrome, Clayman had hoped as a student at Temple University in Philadelphia to pursue a career in filmmaking and journalism. All these years later, Clayman has finally claimed part of that calling, spending a year documenting his everyday struggles with the help of Glenn Holsten and Scott Johnston. One potentially riveting episode that did not make it into the final film was Clayman's high school reunion, which he bailed on at the last minute.

A documentary of this nature is not measured by the reviews of film critics alone. Rather, it means much more when institutional experts give OCD87 the thumbs up, as was the case not long ago with William Leeman, a staff memer at the Vermont mental illness treatment retreat Forty-Seven Main Street, who noted that the documentary "provides hope to anyone suffering from mental illness. It comforts family members. To anyone working in the mental health field: see this film – it will help you understand."

A panel discussion featuring Clayman, co-star Jon Grayson PhD and others followed tonight's D.C. screening. Overall, the event marks something of a full circle for the OCD87 gang; two years ago, at the IOCDF's 2008 annual conference, they were able to solicit some early feedback that helped shape the progression of their project.


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