Inspirational New Documentary 'UnMASKing HOPE' to Feature Extraordinary Stories of Trauma Survivors on Journeys to Find Hope - from Acclaimed Filmmaker Eric Christiansen


LOS ANGELES, April 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Acclaimed documentary writer/director/producer Eric Christiansen has announced production for his next full-length documentary, UnMASKing HOPE and the release of the film's official trailer. UnMASKing HOPE, a fiscally sponsored project of the International Documentary Association (IDA), is slated for release on national public media in early 2020.

Access the official trailer for UnMASKing HOPE here 

UnMASKing HOPE chronicles the extraordinary stories of a disparate group of trauma survivors who don "masks" that bury their spiritual, physical and emotional pain. From survivors of 9/11 and mass shootings, to service members in combat and chronic sexual abuse victims, the film goes behind their MASKS to experience the abuse, social stigma, and moral injury that have scarred their souls. As we are taken on their journey from seclusion to inclusion, we realize that the aggregate stories of these brave individuals share a powerful message of HOPE, inspiring us to unMASK our own HOPE and be who we were born to be. Ultimately the film demonstrates the resiliency of the human spirit and promotes tolerance and empathy for those who have been stigmatized by unthinkable traumatic events.

"I am honored to be able to bring the voices of these brave trauma survivors, like sexual assault victims, to the forefront," Christiansen said. "By shining a light on journeys of healing, the film can educate audiences about the impact trauma has on survivors, their families and the community and create a unified message of hope for us all," he said.

Christiansen, a seven-time recipient of a Southwestern Emmy award, saw critical and commercial success with his last film, "Searching for Home: Coming Back from War," which explored the harrowing effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on military families after veterans returned from combat.  The documentary, which launched on Southern California public television KCET in 2016, was distributed nationally by NETA and aired more than 2,300 times with an estimated 10 million viewers during its run on public television. The film received five-star ratings on iTunes and Amazon Video.

While driven by emotional storytelling, UnMASKing HOPE includes expert commentary from academics, scientists and doctors at the pinnacles of their fields who offer insights around the complexities of trauma and the long process of healing and recovery. They include Dr. Jeremy Crosby, Trauma Therapist/Expert and Author of the book, "A Mind Frozen in Time - A PTSD Recovery Guide"; Dr. Amit Etkin - Psychiatrist / Researcher at Etkin Lab / Faculty at Stanford University; and Dr. Arieh Shalev -New York University Barbara Wilson Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry.

UnMASKing HOPE also speaks to the general population who has gone through difficult life experiences and hide behind their own masks as a result.

Christiansen added: "We live in a time when we need to hear, more than ever, that human beings have the faith and strength to find their way back from dark places of emotional despair, and I am thankful for all of the participants in this film who bared their souls to facilitate healing and hope for others."

Industry luminary Ed Bell (Unchained Memories) provides lyrical and textured animated impressions of survivors' inner life to help illustrate the raw emotions in their stories. The score is composed by Christiansen's longtime artistic collaborator Craig Dobbin, (NCIS Los Angeles). Christiansen's "Searching for Home: Coming Back from War" scored by Dobbin was nominated for a Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Award.

The film received significant technical and product support from Blackmagic Design.  Shot with the Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro, UnMASKing HOPE was posted in DaVinci Resolve Studio.

Join the conversation using on social media: #UnMASKingHOPE. For downloadable images click HERE. For more information please visit

About the International Documentary Association (IDA)
Documentary storytelling expands our understanding of shared human experience, fostering an informed, compassionate, and connected world. The International Documentary Association (IDA) is dedicated to building and serving the needs of a thriving documentary culture. Through its programs, the IDA provides resources, creates community, and defends rights and freedoms for documentary artists, activists, and journalists.

About EC Productions
Based in Los Angeles, EC Productions is an award-winning independent film production company that creates socially conscious non-partisan films that enrich the human spirit. Anchored around the ideas of truth, healing and hope, EC Productions' acclaimed films promote tolerance and empathy through authentic storytelling, clinical support and cultural commentary.

About Eric Christiansen
Eric Christiansen is an acclaimed documentarian who has built his brand around socially responsible filmmaking that educates, inspires and heals. He has the capability to identify an issue within a specific population and have it resonate with a general audience through compelling storytelling. A trauma survivor himself, having lost his home in the Santa Barbara Painted Cave fire disaster, he understands trauma, the resilience of the human spirit, and how important HOPE is to the healing journey. A seven-time Southwestern Region Emmy Award recipient, Christiansen's previous films (Faces in the Fire, Homecoming: A Vietnam Vets Journey, Searching for Home: Coming Back from War) have been transformative in the recovery process for thousands of people whose lives have been compromised mentally, spiritually and physically by trauma. Leveraged as educational tools by top mental health institutions, Christiansen's films migrate from the entertainment arena into environments that help additional audiences navigate the profound collateral damage trauma creates not only on the individual, but the family and community as well. The New York Times called his last film, "strikingly photographed" and "...sure to give comfort and support to countless veterans and their families." By spotlighting these survivors and their journeys, Christiansen has been able to help unify a variety of audiences around the power of HOPE, and educate the general population about the complexities of trauma. Christiansen has also produced for major networks including Discovery, TLC, PBS, MTV and an Imax film.

Ariel Carpenter / ARC PR

UnMASKing HOPE: Official Documentary Logo

UnMASKing HOPE: Extraordinary stories of trauma survivors on journeys to find hope.

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