“I like to immerse myself in stories that inspire; I have seen first-hand that honest stories can shift perceptions, change laws, transform our culture and even save lives.”
Michelle Esrick is an award-winning filmmaker, poet, and social activist. Her most recent film, Cracked Up, The Darrell Hammond Story had its theatrical premiere in September 2019, and was released on Netflix May 1st, 2020.
The Hollywood Reporter, Frank Scheck wrote, “A moving and powerful portrait of trauma and recovery, Cracked Up will likely prove as therapeutic for many viewers as it clearly is for Hammond himself.
In Cracked Up, we witness the impact that childhood trauma can have across a lifetime through the incredibly courageous and candid personal story of comedian, actor, and Saturday Night Live legend Darrell Hammond. With her unyielding commitment to not just raising awareness, but to the actual implementation of trauma-informed care, Esrick, along with Darrell Hammond, made her way to the nation’s capital, where they screened Cracked Up for members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Following the showing, in discussion with the legislators and their staff, Esrick and Hammond reinforced the compelling statement made by the film, that childhood trauma is a root cause of addiction, which is particularly relevant in addressing the enormity of the opioid crisis.
Esrick is proud to have played a role in the adding of nine provisions for trauma-informed care to the Support for Patients and Communities Act, which was signed into law on October 24, 2018.
Esrick directed and produced The Wavy Gravy Movie: Saint Misbehavin’, which was executive produced by the late legendary, Academy Award-winning filmmaker, D. A. Pennebaker.
The New York Times, Stephen Holden wrote “Saint Misbehavin’ is an unabashed love letter to the world that defies the cynicism of our age.”
Exploring the man behind the counter-cultural icon, The Wavy Gravy Movie showcases the humanity and intelligence of this Holy Fool and his devotion to basic human needs. The film originally premiered in 2009 at SXSW and was then seen on Showtime, PBS and Netflix beginning in 2011. On September 24, 2019, Kino Lorber acquired and re-released this much beloved and multi-award-winning film on Amazon Prime. This 10th Anniversary Special Edition DVD includes over fifty-five minutes of extra scenes and other bonus features, including two new interviews with Wavy Gravy and his wife Jahanara Romney. Also included is new audio commentary with Wavy Gravy, Jahanara Romney, and director Michelle Esrick.
Esrick executive produced the Netflix Original film, Ram Dass, Going Home, featuring spiritual teacher and best-selling author Ram Dass, who reflects on love, life, and dying. Widely acclaimed, the film was short-listed for a 2017 Academy Award.
In 2018, Esrick directed the acclaimed music video, Let’s Rise! which CNN dubbed the anthem for the March for Our Lives Movement, in protest of the gun violence epidemic in America, which contributes to adverse childhood experiences for the nation’s school kids. Seen worldwide by over 350 million viewers, Let’s Rise! ranked among the most important protest songs of the year. CNN featured Esrick and her work in a 2018 year-end television special.
In May 2020, Esrick created a new virtual series with Darrell Hammond called Cracked Up, The Evolving Conversation. The series candidly explores, through intimate conversations, the many different aspects of childhood trauma and its long term effects, as well as how we recover ourselves, help others, and change systems to better serve our communities. Special guests have included Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, Jane Fonda and Dr. Gabor Maté.
“The Evolving Conversation series is life changing and life saving!” — Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, Trauma Expert
Cracked Up, The Darrell Hammond Story
Trauma & ACEs
(Adverse Childhood Experiences)
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Filmmaker Michelle Esrick and Darrell Hammond from Cracked Up Movie are excited about Episode 6 of The Evolving Conversation with special guests, V (formerly Eve Ensler) and world renowned trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk, MD, to talk about V’s journey with healing trauma with a special focus on both of her books, In The Body Of The World and The Apology. And, for all of us to discuss what we are experiencing with the world's most challenging issues. This is sure to be a powerful and healing conversation. Register here to attend: https://www.crackedupmovie.com/register (or click on the picture above). **There are payment options, including a 1.00 scholarship; if that is not doable, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. No one will be turned away.**