23 10 2011


Interview with Director Ross Cohen

CS: Today Director Ross Cohen talks to CSReview about his project-in-the-making that is nearing completion, a short film dedicated to a tragic and heartwrenching theme. Welcome, Ross. Why Willowbrook?

Ross Cohen: Not only was I shocked by what I learned while researching the story of Willowbrook State School, but when speaking to people it turned out they knew about the awful conditions there yet had no idea about the unethical medical experiments being conducted on the children in the 1960s.

CS: Did you have reservations about the script or were you immediately taken by the idea?

Ross Cohen: I developed the script with the writer based on the research about Willowbrook. I was very nervous though that I would not do the film justice and was anxious that it be handled with dignity and without “Disneyfying” the subject matter.

CS: Were there difficulties assembling the right crew, casting right actors, working with child actors?

Ross Cohen: The crew was made up largely of my talented colleagues at USC Film School, but casting took a long time as I wanted to get it right. Working with child actors is always fun for me, but does come with its challenges. They often get bored easily and legally can only be on set for a few hours a day, so you have to get the performances you need quick! One of the best parts of making the film was working with child actors with developmental disabilities whose enthusiasm was inspiring and really helped take the film to another level while giving the subject matter the serious attention to details it needed.

CS: What kind of response did you have when searching for expert advisors for your project?

Ross Cohen: Everyone has been very supportive. Both my mentors at USC as well as experts in this topic who have written books, teach classes and speak all over the world about Willowbrook. They gave me so much time and have read drafts of the script as well as looked at notes on the project.

CS: What message do you intend to deliver to the world in Willowbrook? Why do you think the world should care to hear it?

Ross Cohen: I want them to see the awful conditions that children with developmental disabilities were warehoused at Willowbrook State School, as well as understand the true horror of deliberately infecting them with a disease. I hope the film will inspire people to always support the rights of people to always have access to the best possible treatment and support and not be coerced into being harmed.

CS: Did you experience any emotional residue while shooting Willowbrook? How did your crew handle emotional pressure arising from such an intense and dramatic project?

Ross Cohen: Well it’s impossible to keep that level of intensity for the entire 10 day shoot – people would just break down. So we saved it for the most intense scenes and during others, as well as during breaks and lunch, we tried to keep it light and keep everyone motivated.

CS: What’s next for Willowbrook?

Ross Cohen: The film will be released on DVD in January. We are trying to raise the final funds for a sound mix and to get DVDs made so we launched a campaign on Kickstarter and if people donate to the film they receive a copy as well as some other cool bonus rewards!

Visit us on Kickstarter

CS: Thank you for sharing the story of Willowbrook with us, Ross. Much luck to you in promoting the movie!

Willowbrook Movie official website

We are also on Twitter: @willowbrookfilm 

and Facebook: 

Watch Willowbrook 2 min clip –> video.html

Copyright Camilla Stein ©2011. All rights reserved.

 C A M I L L A  S T E I N  S C I E N C E  F I C T I O N



25 04 2011

Viki’s View

What if it was true…

This review is a Special Edition of CSReview in support of Autism Awareness.

Next to acceptance and understanding, what every parent of every child with autism wants is to have a cure for their child’s condition, to hear that there’s hope. What every doctor and every teacher of a child with autism is careful not to give, is that very hope… because, officially, for autism there’s no cure.

With that in mind, Paula Bartholomeus is making a stunning breakthrough that she introduced in her newly published book ‘Viki’s View’ – a method to normalize one’s neurological and cognitive performance, to reduce the effect of a given psychological condition, to optimize one’s resistance to stress, to induce personal progress and to provide a platform for social integration in defiance of the disability.

Viki’s View is by all means not a cure, but it certainly is hope.

Paula Bartholomeus with her book Viki's View

The book, titled after the name of the method which in turn was inspired by a little girl Viki, consists of three parts: the description of Paula’s method that she developed together with three other specialists, testimonies of Paula’s patients, and testimonies of Paula’s colleagues.

The method presents a uniform protocol that is being taught to remedial teachers and therapists who work with adult and underage patients with various forms of autism and other psychiatric disorders. The protocol is scientifically based with each part explained on an academic level. It cannot be self-taught and needs a specific approach to study it under an authorized supervision. Despite its uniform character, the method is applied individually according to prior assessment of the patient’s needs. Sometimes just one session is enough for a visible improvement of one’s overall condition. There are also a number of contraindications. For instance, the method cannot be applied to a patient with an addiction problem or while going through an acute crisis.

The other two parts of the book contain reflections of patients and specialists who had experienced Paula’s method. Personal stories of hardships, losses and traumas that cause such conditions as PTSD, personality disorders and depression in some patients reveal inspiring accounts of overcoming obstacles on the way to normalization through the effectiveness of Viki’s View therapy.

Camilla Stein with Paula Bartholomeus in Viki's View Center

As Paula Bartholomeus puts it, “this book is about a new vision of psychiatry, written so to share this vision with parents, patients, caregivers and scientists. When new ideas are being introduced and a dialogue begins, progress becomes inevitable. Although an idea alone is not enough, a shared vision can become a starting point of a change. What if it was true, and a courage and sincerity of one little girl was the beginning of a snowball effect? What if we could bring about cooperation that would bridge the gap between science and practice? Can you imagine what that would mean for patients with mental disorders?”

Paula Bartholomeus is a remedial teacher, practicing in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

She has a vast experience in diagnostic and guidance of children, young adults and adults with complex learning and development disorders.

‘Viki’s View’ is now available in the Dutch language.

To order a copy please email to

‘Viki’s View’ is currently being translated into English.

For more information, please consult:   

Camilla Stein with Paula Bartholomeus and her colleagues

Copyright Camilla Stein ©2011. All rights reserved.

 C A M I L L A  S T E I N  S C I E N C E  F I C T I O N

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