Skip to main content

WATCH: Barbara Kopple's RUNNING FROM CRAZY Tackles the Hemingway Myth

By KJ Relth

It can be difficult for a documentary to successfully highlight both a personal profile and an activism narrative in a mere hour and forty minutes. But Barbara Kopple's latest feature, Running From Crazy, somehow successfully weaves a message of activism into the story of the life of Mariel Hemingway, the youngest granddaughter of one of America's most celebrated authors. As a woman who now accepts the long line of Hemingway suicides (seven since her great-grandfather, to be precise), Mariel has dedicated her later years to becoming a very public presence in the realm of suicide prevention. The film came about as a sort of matchmaking exercise, with the Oprah Winfrey Network approaching Mariel and Barbara separately to gauge their interest in participating in the project. After a long and impassioned meeting between the two women, Mariel agreed that this film could be the place where she would totally open up for the first time. Running From Crazy became not just a film about Mariel and the tragic history of her family; it became a celebration of the Hemingway's complete and total embrace of joy.

Running from Crazy screened Wednesday, November 6 at the Landmark in Los Angeles as a part of the IDA Documentary Screening Series. Director Barbara Kopple spoke to Indiewire's Dana Harris about wanting to get underneath the Hemingway myth and understand this family on a very intimate level.

Watch below:

You can watch more moments from this Q&A at our IDA Screening Series playlist on our YouTube channel.

Learn more about the other docs set to play in the IDA Documentary Screening Series