American Psychosis

by Amanda Zackem

American Psychosis is a short documentary film inspired by an essay of the same name written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author and activist Chris Hedges. The film is structured around an interview with Hedges discussing consumerism, totalitarian corporate power and living in a world dominated by pervasive illusion. The film has been included in more than 30 film festivals to date, winning awards including Best Short Film at the Berlin Independent Film Festival, Best of Fest at the Colorado Environmental Film Festival and a Humanitarian Award of Distinction at the Best Shorts Awards.

“The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious, one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.”

-James Baldwin

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We activate the power of film to distill big ideas and awaken a more just, compassionate society.


We are a community of filmmakers who weave disquieting information into evocative, short documentaries. Like canaries in coal mines, sensitive visionaries are sounding the alarm through writing, warning of our imbalanced societal structures and the enveloping influence of corporations on our communities and lives. We are a nonprofit that echoes these calls, helping written word take flight into captivating films that can be accessed for free, by all.

We believe in the alchemical capacity of film to transform tough topics into understanding and action. In our time-strapped, digital-based culture, short films help us digest complex philosophies, allowing us to embrace new ideas and discover we have more in common than we think we do. We seek to incite compassion and elevate consciousness, changing habits, lives, communities and ultimately, the world.


American Canary will produce all films, house them on an interactive online platform, and share them through film festivals, local screenings and strategic partnership outlets. We seek not only to make and widely distribute films, but to help integrate the big ideas they address through community-grown gatherings, educational resources and opportunities to take action.

Our films will feature writers who wear many hats as activists, anthropologists, psychologists, poets, scientists and those who cannot be put into a box. Through these forward thinkers, we will eloquently approach economics, food and health, environmental and social justice issues.

* American Canary will be incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit.


Amanda Zackem headshot

Amanda Zackem


Amanda Zackem is a director, cinematographer and activist. She uses film as a tool to explore consciousness, social justice, and raise awareness against exploitative corporate power structures in an effort to restore balance to our planet and all those that live here. She directed, shot and edited American Psychosis and has produced feature documentaries on issues of civil disobedience and oil and energy. Amanda holds a BA from Ithaca College, a master’s degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She was chosen as a 2018 Blue Mountain Center Artist Residency recipient.

Laura Yale headshot

Laura Yale


Laura Yale is a Colorado-based film producer and freelance writer. She produced award-winning documentary Jumbo Wild and award-winning short documentary series A Skier’s Journey. She advocates for the preservation of both inner and outer wildernesses by echoing stories of landscapes and those most closely connected to them. She has a background in environmental policy and political organizing and has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Laura brings a well-rounded approach, unearthing historical, political, geographical and emotional contexts of characters and their stories.

Bridget Haina headshot

Bridget Haina


Bridget Haina is a jill-of-all media trades. From print to web design, still photography to video motion graphics, there is not much she cannot create. Bridget holds a master’s degree in multimedia photography and design from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media Production at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh where she finds great satisfaction in working with the next generation of content creators. She researches and publishes studies on social media communication, and is also the Creative Director for the online retail company Global Sugar Art.

Lindsay Newman headshot

Lindsay Newman


Lindsay Newman is a nonprofit consultant and development associate with over a decade of international and localized work. She has dedicated her life to empowering stories and capacity building within communities. Her work includes strategic partnerships with organizations working as a change-maker with indigenous youth, animal rights, political advancement and environmental justice. She holds a BA in English Literature and a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Regis University. She seeks to utilize the third sector to enhance social change and foster humanity and beauty within the world.


We seek relationships with individuals, organizations and independent companies that adhere to conscious core values. We look forward to creating mutually-beneficial collaborations that support and fund the making of these films while ensuring they reach their full potential as powerful instruments of positive social change.

We have partnered with Haymarket Books, an independent nonprofit book publisher, part of the “Center for Economic Research and Social Change,” featuring the likes of Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Howard Zinn and Rebecca Solnit. Haymarket will connect us with their authors and promote American Canary produced films.

These films will promote sales for the author and publishing companies and allow us to make and share films that matter. We look forward to partnering with nonprofits, publishers, educators, filmmakers and change-makers who can use film as a tool for their cause.

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