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Local Filmmaker Looking To Raise Mental Health Awareness

Travis Carlson, a 2009 Cassadaga Central School graduate, and his team of filmmakers at Pan-American Film Division are looking to spread an important message with the release of their first feature film, “Mother’s Day.”

The film, which was shot and set in Gerry, aims to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health conditions, drawing inspiration from Carlson’s own life in Western New York.

“Mother’s Day” is photographed in a continuous shot over the course of a mile of rural America, and stars Lisa Ludwig as Wendy and Michael Charles Wagner as her son Jordan.

This month, Pan-Am Films launched a Seed and Spark fundraiser for “Mothers Day,” quickly exceeding their minimum target of $10,000 to fund the production’s hard costs, closing at $20,660.

“This was the moment that helped me to really identify that my mother wasn’t processing the world the way she once had,” Carlson said of the story. “My mother and I felt that, while personal, it might help others to understand their loved ones impacted by mental health conditions.”

Carlson, who serves as writer and director, and his crew began production on the film last summer in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and are currently working on a timeline for distribution.

Currently “Mother’s Day” is available for pre-order at panamericanfilms.com.

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