Out of the Shadow is a very personal documentary which chronicles the filmmaker Susan Smiley’s mother, Millie, and her family through Millie’s battle with schizophrenia and her subsequent trials within the public health system.
Out of the Shadow, has become the most widely used educational film about mental schizophrenia ever made. It continues to be shown in hundreds of colleges and universities throughout the United States and abroad. It’s a film that profoundly changes how people view those who suffered from mental illnesses and their loved ones.
Millie was just 25 with two small children when she was first plagued by the symptoms of schizophrenia. As mental chaos overwhelmed their mother, Susan and her sister Tina, struggled to cope with her. For years, the family’s ignorance and shame kept Millie’s behavior shrouded in secrecy. When her children left home, Millie’s life unraveled completely. After 20 years of transience and inadequate care, Millie finally has a chance to reclaim her life.
A story of madness and dignity, shame and love, this intimate film illuminates a national plight through one family’s struggle and helps dispel the stigmas and misconceptions surrounding this harrowing illness. The film continues to air on public television stations nationwide. It has been translated into nine languages and has aired in 12 countries.