Mental illness is one of the most significant health crises in the world—as pervasive as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease—but it often exists in secret and is endured in isolation.
The two-part, four-hour film, Hiding in Plain Sight, follows the journeys of more than 20 young Americans from all over the country and all walks of life, who have struggled with thoughts and feelings that have troubled—and, at times—overwhelmed them. They share what they have learned about themselves, their families, and the world in which they live. Through first-person accounts, the film presents an unstinting look at both the seemingly insurmountable obstacles faced by those who live with mental disorders and the hope that many have found after that storm. In the process, they will directly confront the issues of stigma, discrimination, awareness, and silence, and, in doing so, support the ongoing shift in the public perception of mental illness today.
The award is going to the team that produced the film. The film was executive produced by Ken Burns, John F. Wilson and Tom Chiodo, co-directed by Erik Ewers and Christopher Loren Ewers, produced by Julie Coffman, and written by David Blistein, the film Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness. It premiered June 27-28, 2022.
Ken Burns has been making documentary films for almost forty years. Since the Academy Award nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Ken has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz; Frank Lloyd Wright; Mark Twain; The National Parks: America’s Best Idea; The Dust Bowl; Jackie Robinson; The Vietnam War; Country Music; Hemingway; Muhammad Ali; and Benjamin Franklin. His next film, The U.S. and the Holocaust, will premiere on PBS in September 2022.
John F. Wilson
Senior Vice President & Chief National Content Officer, WETA National Productions
Oversees the WETA National Productions portfolio and manages national content development across platforms. WETA productions, co-productions and presentations that Wilson oversees include documentary films from Ken Burns and Florentine Films; history and genealogy series with scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; performance and arts specials from the nation’s leading cultural venues; and lifestyle series.
Recent projects: Emmy nominated documentary Ken Burns Presents The Gene: An Intimate History; Rethinking High School Town Hall at Howard University; DuPont Columbia Award & Emmy nominated documentary Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. In development: Hiding In Plain Sight: Adult Mental Illness; Caregiving; Remote Chance: Health Care In Rural America; Life, Unexpected; Mighty Real: Out & Proud In America, GERMS. Former SVP Development Entertainment Industry Foundation creating programs and funding national initiatives in health care, volunteerism, childhood hunger and education. Senior positions at U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Massachusetts Department of Public Health & State Office for Children. Co-author “Home Care for Respirator Dependent Children” New England Journal of Medicine.
Co-Director and Editor
Erik Ewers has worked with documentary filmmaker Ken Burns for more than 30 years, editing nearly all of his single and multi-episodic films and serving as senior editor on Country Music and Hemingway. Erik is now the co-director and editor of Ewers Brothers Productions, a preferred collaborative company in the co-creation of Ken’s films. EBP projects include The Mayo Clinic: Faith, Hope, Science (2018) and Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness (2022).
Christopher Loren Ewers
Co-Director and Director of Photography
Christopher Loren Ewers has been working with Ken Burns for almost 20 years. With Ken as executive producer, Chris co-directed and served as Director of Photography on the feature length documentary, The Mayo Clinic: Faith, Hope, Science, which broadcast nationally on PBS in September 2018, and the two-part Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness, which premiered on the same network in June 2022.
Julie Coffman graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design and worked as a graphic designer for ten years before joining Ewers Brothers Productions. In 2015 she joined Florentine Films in collaboration with EBP and Ken Burns. She produced The Mayo Clinic: Faith, Hope, Science, a feature length documentary which premiered on PBS in 2018, and, most recently, Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness, which broadcast on PBS in June of 2022.
David Blistein spent 25 years as the owner and creative director of a regional advertising agency in Vermont, after which he began writing non-fiction books and documentaries. He was a writer on the PBS documentaries Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies (2015), The Gene (2019), the award-winning The Mayo Clinic: Faith, Hope, Science (2018), and Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness (2022).
Learn more about the Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion.
Watch a discussion with Erik Ewers and Christopher Loren Ewers, co-directors of Hiding in Plain Sight, Youth Mental Illness and honorees of 2023 Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion Award.