The Maxwell Gray Film Fellowship program promotes student mental health by producing original videos featuring special high school and college student populations (e.g. students of color, LGBTQIA+ students, graduate students, transfer students, students in recovery, student veterans), with the aim to increase knowledge of depression and related illnesses, reduce stigma and increase help-seeking.

Student filmmakers are encouraged to join the Maxwell Gray Summer Fellowship program, led by the Eisenberg Family Depression Center and an external professional producer. Fellows aid in the development, recruitment, production, post-production, and dissemination of brief videos on mental health.

Support for this project is provided by the Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation, given in memory of Maxwell A. Gray, and matched 1:1 by the Eisenberg Collaborative Innovations Fund at the Eisenberg Family Depression Center.

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Headshots of two student filmmakers.

Maxwell Gray Fellow: Henry Lu, undergraduate student, University of Michigan

Lu is starting his Maxwell Gray Film Fellowship as a senior majoring in Film, Television and Media with a minor in Law, Justice, and Social Change. He is currently a senior video editor and a videographer for The Michigan Daily. Lu has experience in shooting over 40 television commercials for local businesses, speaks three languages and enjoys screenwriting, filmmaking, and playing piano and guitar.

Maxwell Gray Fellow: Mitchell Salley, undergraduate student, University of Michigan

Salley, a 2020 Maxwell Gray Film Fellow, is a rising fifth-year senior in the “Film, Television, and Media” and “Communications and Media” departments, with a minor in “Business.” Outside of his studies, Mitchell is a member of the Residential College Players and M-Agination Films, and he is an Eagle Scout.

The 2021 team produced a pair of videos to address mental health issues among students. One video was about the struggles of a graduate student and the other about a high school student who struggled with anxiety and found an outlet in the Depression Center’s Peer-to-Peer Depression Awareness Program.

Watch the 2021 Films:

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Maxwell Gray

About Maxwell Gray

In memory of her son, Laurie Davis Gray established the Max Gray Fund for Depression Research at UCLA in 2014, while the Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation went on to support this film project at U-M in 2016. Max Gray was passionate about film, art and music. He graduated from the Gallatin School at New York University in 2010 and worked as an associate at OddLot Entertainment, an American motion picture production company based out of Los Angeles. In August 2013, Max died from depression at the age of 25.

A Friend's Thoughts by Adam Saewitz

Max was a huge cinephile. His love of film, music and the interweaving of the two were a part of practically every conversation he and I shared. We met in a class called "The History of Hip Hop" which was taught at the Clive Davis Department of Music at New York University. From that semester onwards, Max and I would meet frequently and dissect albums, films and music videos ad nauseam, especially that of the hip hop variety.

Max always had a magical capacity to find correlations between a film, a piece of literature or a record. He read and absorbed art voraciously and I always admired his capacity to reference such a rich depth of films and music and literature so effortlessly. You could ask him about a piece of art and he'd talk your head off about it. He had so many opinions about the work of the art and he had so many rich feelings about it too. I miss that about him so much. All that he loved, he loved to his core and his passion for the arts was so much a part of what made him great.

Maxwell Gray Fellow: Ryan Lynch, undergraduate student, University of Michigan

Ryan Lynch is a member of the 2020 graduating class from the University of Michigan where he studied Film, Television, and Visual Media as well as Communications and Media Studies. In his free time, Ryan enjoys playing guitar, writing, and watching movies.

Maxwell Gray Fellow: Mitchell Salley, undergraduate student, University of Michigan

Mitchell Salley is a rising senior in the “Film, Television, and Media” and “Communications and Media” departments, with a minor in “Business.” Outside of his studies, Mitchell is a member of the Residential College Players and M-Agination Films, and he is an Eagle Scout.

The 2020 team produced a pair of videos to address mental health issues with Michigan undergraduates. One video was about grieving after the loss of a loved one and the other about anxiety and loneliness after transferring schools.

Maxwell Gray Lead: Charles Pelham-Ashley, Senior Producer, Michigan-Dearborn '12

Maxwell Gray Fellow: Erin Burke, undergraduate student, University of Michigan

Maxwell Gray Fellow: Frank Allen, undergraduate student, University of Michigan

The 2019 team produced two videos addressing mental health issues with Michigan graduates. One video was about substance abuse and another was about anxiety and identity.

Maxwell Gray Fellow: Carver Diserens, MFA student, Columbia University
Maxwell Gray Intern: Rachel Banks, undergraduate student, University of Michigan
Maxwell Gray Intern: Carly Angott, undergraduate student, Eastern Michigan University


The 2017 team focused on what it would look like if we treated physical health like mental health.

 

 

Maxwell Gray Fellow: Cameron Quevedo, documentary filmmaker and MFA student, University of Texas, Austin
Maxwell Gray Intern: Lyntoria Newton, MFA student, Stanford University
Maxwell Gray Intern: S. Elyse Shultz, undergraduate student, University of Michigan

The 2016 team focused on the impact of mindfulness and meditation on student mental health.