Paper Birds: A Thank You

I’ll definitely have more to say regarding Paper Birds and NCUR because there’s just so much to cover, but firstly, I wanted to dedicate a post to everyone who’s made this project—and this showcasing opportunity—possible:

I’d like to start by thanking my friends and family. I couldn’t have asked for a better support system, and it’s because of their love that I’m still here today. I’d also like to say a huge thank you to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire & the Council on Undergraduate Research who’s joint efforts gave this important issue a platform. I’d like to follow that by thanking my soon to be alma mater, Millersville University of Pennsylvania—I would not be able to attend this conference without their generous support, and for that I’m extremely humbled! I extend my gratitude to the Neimeyer-Hodgson Research Grant Committee who allowed me to pay my talented peers for their work; and my professor and mentor, Changfu Chang who urged me to translate Paper Birds to film—a format this story couldn’t be more well suited for—and who has since guided me along this journey. 

I need to give a huge shoutout to my original production team: Jaylen Hodge, Ben Graham, Matt Lantz and especially my assistant director, Amber Stuart who has functioned as my right hand man during this project, offering her feedback, creativity and emotional support. I’d also like to thank Reed Donnelly and Spencer Seikel for their talented camera work on our two most recent production days. 

And of course, this film would not have been possible without the selflessness of its interviewees: Kim Connelly (mom), Kristina Lloyd (sister) and Dr. Francis Sizer, my former psychologist. I’m also extremely grateful for the participation and vulnerability of Caleb and Madison Cress who’s interviews—while not featured in this cut of Paper Birds—will be repurposed down the line to function as short, stand alone stories. And another huge thank you to our scholars Dana Hampton, Allie Lindt and Marcus Lewis for taking the time to sit down with us, going above and beyond their duties as mental health professionals to make a lasting impact in the community. 

I’d also like to shoutout Taylor Green for filling in as a phenomenal interviewer last fall for Dr. Sizer’s taping, and both my brother (Mikey Connelly) and brother-in-law (Matt Lloyd) for stepping in when I needed help with b-roll. 

And lastly, I’d like to thank everyone who’s offered their support for this project and my work over the years. I’m not sure what I did to deserve the kindness and interest people have shown to me and the things that I do, but I hope you all know it’s something I’ll be eternally grateful for. 

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