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La Jolla resident on committee for bipolar fundraiser honoring Hollywood director David O. Russell

La Jolla resident on committee for bipolar fundraiser honoring Hollywood director David O. Russell La Jolla resident on committee for bipolar fundraiser honoring Hollywood director David O. Russell

The International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) will host “Behind The Mask: Phantom of the Opera Gala,” its fifth annual fundraiser, from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, at the Estancia La Jolla Hotel, 9700 North Torrey Pines Rd, San Diego.


The fundraiser, open to the public, will feature dinner and a silent and live auction. Attire is black tie. IBFP officials expect attendance of more than 250 people. Tickets are $325 per person. For registration information, visit  www.ibpf.org. Proceeds will benefit programs and support services for people affected by bipolar disorder. Proceeds also will fund public education programs to increase awareness and knowledge of bipolar disorders.


La Jolla resident Pilar Cardenas-Gimber, a marriage and family therapist and member of the Gala Committee, said, “More public awareness and education about bipolar disorder will encourage individuals to seek treatment, and essential social support. We need to get to a place where individuals with medical conditions such as bipolar disorder feel free to talk about their illness and receive the same social support as those with other medical conditions.”  


At the fundraiser, David O. Russell, writer-director of “Silver Linings Playbook,” will be honored with the IBPF Hope Award for his efforts to erase the stigma of mental illness, improve access to treatment and instill hope in families, communities and the nation.


Released in 2012, the motion picture was nominated for eight Oscar awards, including best picture, best director, best adapted screenplay and the film’s stars, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro and Jackie Weaver, were nominated in all four acting categories. The romantic comedy-drama is the story of the struggles and victories of a man with bipolar disorder following his release from a psychiatric hospital.


Russell himself has an adult son with a mood disorder. Silver Linings Playbook was a commercial success, grossing over $130 million and was pivotal in expanding public awareness of the illness.


Russell’s three most recent films were critically acclaimed and commercial hits, including “The Fighter” (2010), “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012) and “American Hustle” (2013). These films have earned Russell three consecutive Academy Award nominations for best director, as well as nominations for best adapted screenplay and best original screenplay.


“The theme for the gala was selected because we’re inviting the public to help us remove the mask,” said Muffy Walker, IBPF founder and president.


The Gala Committee includes Candise Holmlund and Anne Reed as honorary co-chairs and Lonna Williams as gala committee chair. Committee members include Pilar Cardenas-Gimber, Gayle Glass, Ashley Jacobs, Robin Nordohoff, Mariana Pastor, Nancy Santoro, Muffy Walker and Julie Meier-Wright.


Based in San Diego, IBPF is active in more than 135 countries offering free resources, including a newsletter, webinars, forums, and a conference. IBPF published a book, titled “Healthy Living with Bipolar Disorder,” which includes chapters about suicide, substance abuse, medication treatments, stigma and pregnancy, as well as healthy living information about nutrition, spirituality and faith, the workplace, college, social interactions and caregiving. The book is available free of charge on the IBPF website. The organization was founded in 2007 by four mothers of children with bipolar disorder.

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