James Chasse, a shy and gentle man with schizophrenia, was tackled by three police officers in front of dozens of eyewitnesses on a downtown street corner in Northwest Portland in September 2006.
He was not suspected of a crime, nor had he committed one, but nonetheless he suffered 17 broken ribs, a separated shoulder, a punctured lung, and numerous bruises and contusions before dying.
Chasse’s death and treatment shocked the city, asking profound questions about how we treat those with mental illness and what kind of a police force we want.
Brian Lindstrom’s moving film, six years in the making, provides both a detailed chronicle of Chasse’s tragic final hours and a deep look at the arc of his life from suburban childhood to trying to live as an independent adult with mental illness in a society ill-equipped to recognize his needs.
Premiere – Portland International Film Festival, February 15, 2013. Tickets are available 1/29.
Full Festival schedule (8.5 MB PDF)
Accepted – Big Sky Documentary Film Festival: February 18, 2013
Private screening – Cinema 21, Portland, Oregon: February 24 – 29. Tickets are available now.
[Eds. Note: Alien Boy: the Life and Death of James Chasse is a project of the Mental Health Association of Portland.]