Crazy…or wise? The traditional wisdom of indigenous cultures often contradicts modern views about a mental health crisis. Is it a ‘calling’ to grow or just a ‘broken brain’? The documentary CRAZYWISE explores what can be learned from people around the world who have turned their psychological crisis into a positive transformative experience. Click here to see the extended trailer.

en Espanol  |  en Français  | magyar nyelven  |  en Italiano



What can we learn from those who have turned their psychological crisis into a positive transformative experience?

During a quarter-century documenting indigenous cultures, human-rights photographer and filmmaker Phil Borges often saw these cultures identify “psychotic” symptoms as an indicator of shamanic potential. He was intrigued by how differently psychosis is defined and treated in the West.

Through interviews with renowned mental health professionals including Gabor Mate, MD, Robert Whitaker, and Roshi Joan Halifax, PhD, Phil explores the growing severity of the mental health crisis in America dominated by biomedical psychiatry. He discovers a growing movement of professionals and psychiatric survivors who demand alternative treatments that focus on recovery, nurturing social connections, and finding meaning.

CRAZYWISE follows two young Americans diagnosed with “mental illness.” Adam, 27, suffers devastating side effects from medications before embracing meditation in hopes of recovery. Ekhaya, 32, survives childhood molestation and several suicide attempts before spiritual training to become a traditional South African healer gives her suffering meaning and brings a deeper purpose to her life.

CRAZYWISE doesn’t aim to over-romanticize indigenous wisdom, or completely condemn Western treatment. Not enery indigenous person who has a crisis becomes a shaman. And many individuals benefit from Western medications.

However, indigenous peoples’ acceptance of non-ordinary states of consciousness, along with rituals and metaphors that form deep connections to nature, to each other, and to ancestors, is something we can learn from.

CRAZYWISE adds a voice to the growing conversation that believes a psychological crisis can be an opportunity for growth and potentially transformational, not a disease with no cure.



    Just a few short days until CRAZYWISE makes its world premiere! Join us at the world premiere of CRAZYWISE!...

  • #EmergingProud Success!
    #EmergingProud Success!

    A huge thank you to the #EmergingProud team for putting on such an amazing series of worldwide academic screenings!...

  • The World Premiere of CRAZYWISE
    The World Premiere of CRAZYWISE

    We are beyond excited to share the news that CRAZYWISE will finally make it’s world debut at the Seattle...



As independent filmmakers, we have been 100% funded by individual donations and ask for your continued support to cover distribution and marketing of this film! All donations to CRAZYWISE are tax-deductible and eligible for matching funds through the Northwest Film Forum, a 501(c)3 organization. Click on the donate button to contribute online via PayPal. Thank you!


Donate Button with Credit Cards

You can also send a check to: CRAZYWISE, c/o Northwest Film Forum  1515 12th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122 . Please make the check out to the Northwest Film Forum and reference CRAZYWISE in the memo line of the check. Also, be sure to include your name and address to received your tax receipt from the Northwest Film Forum. For matching donations, please specify the Northwest Film Forum and, if possible, reference CRAZYWISE.


From the entire CRAZYWISE team, our gratitude to every Backer who supported us during our 2014 Kickstarter campaign and our 2015 Online Fundraising Campaign!