JACOB’S BROTHER is a comedic drama about MIKEY, an aspiring comedian, fresh off his first hospitalization in a psych ward. Mikey struggles to maintain his new routine–eating healthy food, staying out of trouble, avoiding drugs and alcohol. But Mikey also refuses to accept his diagnosis–Bipolar Type I, considered the most severe form of this illness–and soon falls back into his bad habits. This strains his relationship with his adopted mother, IRIS, and his younger, more successful brother, JACOB.
The meltdown that led to his hospitalization also earned him a community service sentence: 100 hours at a homeless shelter. While working there, he meets JERI, the shelter coordinator and a former addict herself, as well as BOLO, a volunteer with schizophrenia. As Mikey’s life once again unravels, he’s forced to make a choice: accept his diagnosis and manage his mental illness or risk losing his family, career, and sanity.
I was living a carefree and reckless lifestyle, unknowingly self-medicating by consuming lots of drugs and alcohol. The weeks and months leading up are a bit fuzzy in my memory, but that night in 2009 when everything finally exploded remains crystal clear.
Over the next five years, I would be hospitalized four separate times, the last one occurring not long after successfully completing my first short film. It wasn’t until that final hospitalization that all the lessons I had learned finally clicked. That was when I truly learned to manage my illness and accept that it was not something I was going to just beat one day–it would require lifelong maintenance.
I would never have made it to that place had it not been for the help I received from my mom and my brother, Jacob. In a weird way, the experience brought us closer together. And that’s the story I want to tell in Jacob’s Brother–two brothers coming together in the face of mental illness.
The sad truth is that most people don’t have the kind of support system that I do, which makes it easy to get caught up in the cycles of mental illness. I’m very lucky to have escaped mine, but I’m also aware that, on any given day, I might need to ask for help again. Through this film, I hope to show people that it’s okay to ask for help.
-Timothy Rafferty, Jacob’s Brother
MEET THE TEAM
As the saying goes, not all wounds are visible. Mental illness affects us all — either personally or through someone we know. In fact, pretty much everyone on this production has struggled with mental illness in some form or another. With your help, we’ll create a film that both entertains and spreads an important social and emotional message: no matter what you’re going through, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And most importantly, you are not alone.
STAY IN TOUCH