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Press Kit includes:

  • General Press Release on Film
  • Filmography of Hott Productions
  • Production Credits Listing
  • Director's Statement
  • Listing of Festivals/awards



Northampton, Massachusetts – IMAGINING ROBERT: MY BROTHER, MADNESS AND SURVIVAL, a new one-hour film by the award-winning filmmaking team of Lawrence Hott and Diane Garey of FLORENTINE FILMS/HOTT PRODUCTIONS, Inc., is a story of two brothers, one who has suffered the horrors and sadness of mental illness for thirty-eight years--the other, a prize-winning novelist who has been his brother's primary caretaker through those years.

In the Press
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Northampton Independent Film Festival 2002

Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities Spring 2001

The Valley Advocate 4/25/02

Daily Hampshire Gazette 3/20/02

Daily Hampshire Gazette 3/20/02 (part 2)


IMAGINING ROBERT: MY BROTHER, MADNESS AND SURVIVAL, based on the book by Jay Neugeboren, is a true story – true, not only for the protagonists, but also for millions of other Americans. It tells the story of Robert Neugeboren, who has suffered from schizophrenia his entire adult life and his brother Jay, novelist and retired University of Massachusetts writing professor, who has been his guardian for the past twenty-five years.

Robert, who is now fifty-nine years old, experienced his first episode of mental illness during his freshman year at the City College of New York. Since then he has been hospitalized and re-hospitalized for mental illness (with diagnoses of schizophrenia and manic depression) more than fifty times. For thirty-eight years he has lived within the mental health system, his treatment and prognosis changing with each new doctor and each new "cure." Jay often refers to his brother as a walking archaeological dig of mental health treatment in the twentieth century.

“The very history of the ways in which our mental health system has dealt with the mentally ill has been passing through my brother’s mind and body,” Jay says.

“I have heard parts of this story for a long time,” says Hott, producer and director. “Jay is a friend and neighbor, and occasionally he would tell me about his brother Robert and how much time and energy he had to devote to him. When the book came out I heard Jay give a reading and saw the impact the story had on the audience. I was convinced that this would be wonderful material for a film.”

IMAGINING ROBERT looks very different from all the other films in the FLORENTINE FILMS/HOTT PRODUCTIONS, Inc. portfolio. A distinct difference is Hott serving as the camera person removing the interposition of the camera man between him and the subject. Hott interacts very directly with Robert and Jay as they look and speak directly to him through out the film. The effect is that Hott unintentionally becomes a character resulting in a film where the audience sees not just two people on the screen talking about their lives but instead sees two people and the filmmaker together.

Diane Garey brings sensitivity to the editing of IMAGINING ROBERT infusing it with a combination of clarity, motion and humor. Garey avoids mellifluous, flowing cutting, which would burden the work with overwrought sentimentality. Instead she uses very sharp and rapid cuts matched with unexpected soundtrack choices – such as the bongo music in the opening scenes. As an example, during the scene in the halfway house where Robert is almost bouncing off the walls having a bad day, the editing is almost bouncing off the walls as well. Garey skillfully brings a rhythm to the scene that fits the emotions that Robert’s going through.

Hott says, “We have often chosen films that on the surface people might think are downers, like the history of tuberculosis, for example, or even the ACLU film, which is full of people’s rights being crushed. But we put a lot of effort into making the films funny. Entertaining. And here’s a film about mental illness that could be very depressing, handled in a certain way, but I think most people who see it, they laugh every other minute in this film because something funny is happening. Even if it is ironically, sadly funny, it’s still funny. And it holds your attention.”

IMAGINING ROBERT was premiered at Smith College in April of 2002 and was recently awarded an Honorable Mention in the 34th Annual Media Awards Competition of the National Council on Family Relations and has received notice by as a “exemplary film” by the Council on Foundations in Washington, DC. IMAGINING ROBERT has been screened at the 11th Annual Woods Hole Film Festival and the Northampton (Massachusetts) Independent Film Festival.

The Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities is working in tandem with FLORENTINE FILMS/HOTT PRODUCTIONS, Inc. to use the completed film to prompt dialogue about mental illness on a local, state and national level. Each public screening is designed to bring people from different backgrounds – patients, families, police, social workers, lawyers, and health-care providers – together with Hott and Jay and Robert Neugeboren to discuss the topics raised in the film.

IMAGINING ROBERT: MY BROTHER, MADNESS AND SURVIVAL is funded by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Animating Democracy Initiative of Americans for the Arts, funded by the Ford Foundation, the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism, and the Massachusetts Media Merit Award a program of the Boston Film and Video Foundation and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

More information about the film and dialogue series is available at The film is available through its distributor, Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 800-257-5126,

Lawrence R. Hott and Diane Garey have been producers with FLORENTINE FILMS/HOTT PRODUCTIONS, Inc. since 1979. Almost 25 years later they have received an Emmy, two Academy Award nominations, five American Film Festival Blue Ribbons, eleven CINE Golden Eagles, a George Foster Peabody Award and over one hundred national and international awards. Their work has been screened at a variety of major film festivals, including the New York Film Festival, Telluride, and Women in the Director's Chair. See for more information.


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©2002 Florentine Films/Hott Productions, Inc.