NEW YORK – Captain Zero: Into The Abyss  is a coming of age film that  explores  the psyche of Xerxes Hughes, a teenager whose double life as a superhero and struggles with depression are causing him to experience blackouts. Lamard Cher-Aime, a finalist winner in the 2021 Ida B. Wells Fund competition, will debut his virtual animated action film on Juneteenth (June 19) from 7:30 p.m EST/4:30 pm PST.  Admission is free.   

Did you know . . .

  • “Sixteen percent (4.8 million) Black and African-American people have reported a mental illness and 22.4 percent of those (1.1 million people) reported a serious mental illness over the past year.” (Source:  Mental Health America)
  • “Twenty-five percent of African Americans seek treatment for a mental health issue, compared to 40 percent of white individuals. The reasons for this drop off include misdiagnosis by doctors, socio-economic factors and a lack of African-American mental health professionals.”  (Source:  Discovery Mood & Anxiety Program) 
  • “Despite the needs, one in three Blacks who need mental health care receive it.” (Source:  (NAMI) National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Captain Zero: Into The Abyss explores his mind, world, and the events that have led him to seek out therapy.  It stars POSE (2018) and American Horror Story (2011) Actress Angelica Ross as Dr. Niobe, Xerxes’ therapist, and confidant.  

This animated action film is the brainchild of Lamard Cher-Aime, chief executive officer, Cutting Edge Animation.  Mr. Cher-Aime also suffers from major depressive disorder and he is a suicide survivor.  Mr. Cher-Aime uses this animated film to destigmatize mental illness, encourage individuals to seek treatment and raise awareness about the greater need for services in the Black community.  

Mr. Cher-Aime is also a finalist winner of the Ida B. Wells Fund, a grant for aspiring Black artists across a spectrum of creative disciplines – filmmaking, visual and performing artists, literature, technology, multidisciplinary practices, investigative journalism – to create groundbreaking, socially engaged new work.

The Captain Zero: Into The Abyss will appear in three acts – Act 1 – film screening, Act 2 – talk with film director and Act 3 – panel discussion

In addition to the film screening, the panel discussion will include the following individuals.

  • John Martin Green, PhD, founder and executive director, Gate Keeper’s Collective, which promotes health and wellness among same gender loving men.  Dr. Green is also the co-founder and co-artistic director for Blackberry Productions.
  • Candace Crosby, a licensed professional social worker, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Captain Zero: Into The Abyss is made possible through the partnership with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), We in the World, Gate Keeper’s Collective and RISE..  chromatic black™,Voyage Media and Angela Ross are the executive producers for the film.