Maryann Manelski is a writer and filmmaker. She has a degree in Film and Television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She began her career at the William Morris Agency (now William Morris Endeavor). Manelski also worked in video production/post-production and distribution at Atlantic Records, BMG Video, and Winstar/Wellspring (which was previously Fox Lorber and later became the Weinstein Company.) Her previous documentary, “Running in High Heels,” explored women and politics and was widely distributed non-theatrically to colleges and universities along with a companion book, “American Catfight.” After a seven-year hiatus to care for her ailing father and sister, Manelski made her second feature documentary, “The Grief Monomyth.”
Diane Brennan is a educator and advocate for hospice and bereavement care as well as being licensed mental health counselor, grief therapist and group facilitator. She greatly helped shape the educational component of the the Secret Maps Project of which the Grief Monomyth film is one part. While not appearing in the Grief Monomyth, she is prominently featured in many of the other Secret Maps Project films. She is the founder of Life & Loss Mental Health Counseling and you can follow her on Facebook or on Twitter @Life_Loss_Grief.
E. Willis Partington is a certified thanatologist, licensed social worker, grief counselor and group facilitator. He often publishes and lectures on hospice care. He currently runs the Men’s Grief Group as well as other groups at Visiting Nurse Service of New York. You can reach him at ewillistherapist (at) gmail (dot) com.
Roselle Andrews speaks in the film about six months after the death of her love, Francis. Even with years of experience as AIDS nurse in which she ministered to dying patients, Roselle shares how difficult it is to process caregiving and loss when it is in your own world. Currently, Roselle, although retired, is using her nursing skills as a volunteer in various medical venues like blood drives and looking forward to the birth of her second grandchild while still missing Francis.
Sam Feldman gave his interview five years after the death of his wife, Gretchen, an accomplished artist. At 87 years-old he is still extremely active shuttling up and down the East Coast throughout the year and recently finished the NYC Half Marathon. Sam used his love for Gretchen to benefit other widowers and founded the National Widowers Organization.
Laurence Gewirtz speaks in the film a bit more than a year after the sudden death of his mother, JoAn, in a car accident. In doing what his mother would want him to do, Laurence began embracing life again, including traveling and now spends a couple of months a year in Europe in between running the 4th Wall Actors Workshop in NYC.
Ken Levy gave his interview more than seven years after the death of his wife Sheila, a marathon runner, from inflammatory breast cancer. Although Ken has had to walk the painful road of complicated grief, he continues to make efforts to memorialize his life of adventures with Sheila, sharing their story where he can, and pursuing related ventures.
Pat Troise speaks in the film shortly after the first-year anniversary of her mother’s death. Like Roselle, Pat had spent years providing comfort to others. She is a licensed funeral director and shares in her interview the difficulty of processing loss and death, no matter how familiar, when it happens in one’s own world.