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Participant and Actual Films, in Association With Chicago Media Project, Partner on Documentary About U.S. Special Operations Veterans Seeking Groundbreaking Treatment for Ptsd and Brain Trauma

Companies Behind American Factory and Athlete A Follow Former Navy SEALs Treated with Experimental Psychedelics to Address PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries

Suicide Among Members of Military Is Four Times Higher Than the Number of Servicemen and Woman Killed During Military Operations

LOS ANGELES – February 1, 2023 – Participant, the leading media company dedicated to telling transformational stories that speak to the world’s most important issues, in association with Chicago Media Project, announced today that it is collaborating with Actual Films to produce a documentary on the use of experimental psychedelics to treat PTSD and traumatic brain injuries in former Navy SEALs. In search of hope and healing, these veterans undertake a controversial, transformative treatment. The film is directed by Jon Shenk and Bonni Cohen; produced by Jessica Anthony; and executive produced by Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann; Actual Films’ Justine Nagan; and Chicago Media Project’s Paula Froehle, Steven Cohen, Shizuka Asakawa and Kent McCleerey.

After a decade of back-to-back, secret military ops, Marcus Capone returned home and tried to adjust to civilian life. Frustrated that no conventional therapies helped his severe depression, anxiety, and rage, most likely stemming from TBI and PTSD, his wife Amber sent him out of the country for what turned out to be lifesaving psychedelic treatment, a protocol including ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT, illegal in the US. Confronted with the alarming numbers of veteran suicides (according to the USO, the rate of suicide among members of the military is four times higher than deaths that occurred during military operations), Marcus and Amber became passionate about giving their community access to this lifeline and are racing against time to help their fellow military families.

The documentary follows a group of SEAL veterans who after years of struggling with anxiety, severe pain, and suicidal ideation, have found their breaking point. Using intimate verité, interviews, archival footage and animation, the film tells the inspirational story of soldiers who served as America’s tip of the spear in the Global War on Terror who find themselves at the cutting edge of alternative treatments. Also covered is novel scientific research from the world-renowned Bay Area based Brain Stimulation Lab around the regenerative properties of these ancient natural medicines unfolding in real time.

“Over the years, we have been honored to share stories of survivors struggling with the lingering effects of trauma, and this project goes in the most surprising directions. Marcus and Amber Capone, and their community, are warriors who are helping to open a window that will have profound effects on how we think about treating mental health and brain injury,” said Jon Shenk. Bonni Cohen elaborated, “It’s been tremendously rewarding to partner again with Participant. Over the past three years, we’ve had the privilege of getting to know this tight-knit community and can’t wait to share their story with audiences.”

“As so many veterans struggle with the aftereffects of their service without the support they need, we’re honored to work with Actual Films to tell the story of the Capones and their groundbreaking efforts,” said Participant’s CEO David Linde. “This film confronts hard truths about the lack of essential mental health care for those that have served their country and takes the audience on a truly compassionate and emotional journey they will not forget.”

Participant’s upcoming feature releases include Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power (Peacock); Out of My Mind (Disney +); BLKNWS (A24); White Bird: A Wonder Story (Lionsgate); and Shirley (Netflix). Recent releases include Academy Award® nominee All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (NEON, HBO Documentary Films), winner of the Venice Golden Lion for Best Film; Descendant (Netflix/Higher Ground), winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Creative Vision at Sundance; Costa Brava, Lebanon (Kino Lorber); The First Wave (National Geographic, Hulu), which won three News & Documentary Emmys®; and the history-making triple Academy Award® nominee FLEE (NEON).

About Participant
Founded in 2004 by Chairman Jeff Skoll and under the leadership of CEO David Linde, Participant (www.participant.com) is the leading global media company dedicated to content that unites art and activism to create positive change. Participant’s films have earned 86 Academy Award® nominations, including 2022’s historic triple nomination for FLEE, and 21 wins, including Best Picture for Spotlight and Green Book; Best Documentary Feature for An Inconvenient Truth, CITIZENFOUR, The Cove and American Factory; and Best Foreign Language Film for Roma and A Fantastic Woman. Participant also has earned 44 Emmy® Award nominations and 11 wins, including two wins for the groundbreaking When They See Us. A pioneer of socially conscious storytelling, Participant partners with key nonprofits and NGOs to drive real-world impact and awareness around today’s most vital issues on a global scale, and is the only major US entertainment company whose social and environmental impact has earned a B Corp Certification. Participant believes that diversity is a source of strength, that inclusion is essential to progress, and that equity is an imperative for impact. Follow Participant on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

About Actual Films
Actual Films creates powerful works of documentary cinema to have a positive impact for change in the world. Over the past 20+ years, the company has created critically acclaimed, award-winning films such as Athlete A, Audrie & Daisy, An Inconvenient Sequel, The Island President and The Lost Boys of Sudan. Recent work includes the Academy-Award nominated short Lead Me Home and Make A Splash, which premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival. Distribution partners include Netflix, HBO, Paramount, ESPN, Disney+, PBS and Samuel Goldwyn. Founded by filmmakers Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, Actual Films’ documentaries have won Emmys and Peabodys, and been nominated for an Academy Award. Together with Head of Production Justine Nagan, Actual Films frequently collaborates with passionate filmmakers across the country and from around the San Francisco Bay. www.actualfilms.net

Co-founded in 2013 by Paula Froehle and Steve Cohen, Chicago Media Project is a nationwide community of storytellers, changemakers, artists, activists and philanthropists that also goes by the acronym “CMP”. While its heart and soul are still rooted in its founding city, “CMP” nods to the organization’s roots and speaks to its deeper purpose: Community, Media and Philanthropy. CMP believes in the power of impactful media to catalyze people to action, to make meaningful change, and to ignite stories that can move the world. CMP’s supported projects include the Oscar-winning film ICARUS; Emmy-winning films 16 SHOTS, THE APOLLO, and ATHLETE A; and dozens of other socially impactful nonfiction features, shorts, and docuseries. Follow CMP on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For more information: www.wearecmp.org