Both residents of Manhattan, Jerry approached John about producing a film for DBSA, and soon they began work on a short film that would stimulate conversation in medical school classrooms, residency programs, and other clinical and community settings in the U.S. and abroad. A producer of other educational films, Jerry reached out to Stephanie Choriatis, a New York-based film director, producer, and educator, who loved John’s story right away. With John, Stephanie and her film team on board, Jerry approached Michael Pollock, CEO of DBSA, who enthusiastically approved the project.
Psychiatrist As Patient: Caring for the Caregiver began principal photography in March 2019 in and around New York City. “I believed John’s story would inspire dialogue and reduce stigma for clinicians and others in the medical industry,” Jerry said. “For an esteemed psychiatrist at the top of his field to feel afraid of being open about his lived experience—that floored me. It’s our good fortune that John is brave, articulate and warm, a true kindred spirit. Audiences feel his message of hope. Stephanie, our creative team, and I are honored to help John tell his story, and send it far and wide.”
Filming brought the production team to multiple locations. Subject interviews were conducted in New York City, both in Chelsea and the Upper West Side. Footage was also filmed in John’s private home in New Jersey, about a 2-hour drive from the city. Producers also coordinated with an independent film producer in Sydney, Australia, to capture John’s inspiring presentation at an international medical convention. “The beauty of documentary film is that even if you plan ahead, the subjects may surprise you,” Stephanie said. “There were aspects of John’s story that we hadn’t heard prior to filming, and they turned out to be gems for the film.”
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