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Robin Williams' inspired charity awareness film festival

Floating the waves of social networks Imgur and Reddit is a new project crowdfunding via Indiegogo. Project creator Hannah Shepard hopes to raise enough funds to sponsor a charity film festival in Colorado following the news of beloved actor Robin Williams' recent loss.

The 63-year-old actor/comedian who brought tears of laughter to audiences around the world passed away on August 11, 2014 of apparent suicide. The news shocked the nation, who knew Williams best by his humorous and cheerful screen personality. When reports of his death shed light on his depression and early Parkinson's diagnosis, countless voices spoke out about the importance of spreading mental health awareness and seeking help when suicidal thoughts creep in.

Shepard formulated her project in the wake of Williams' death, after her own personal battles with suicide. She shares on the campaign's Imgur page that: “A room full of people who had attempted suicide, or were thinking about it,” could agree on one movie to watch as a group in the hospital where she received treatment. Mrs. Doubtfire helped others struggling with depression to laugh and genuinely feel better about life.

Shepard's project is not alone in the increase of suicide awareness. Since Williams' passing, a Facebook group has started up the “Doubtfire Face for Suicide Prevention,” ala the viral ice-bucket challenge style of fundraising. Likewise, organizations such as WeLiveFilm are working on awareness projects of their own. In WeLiveFilm's case, the project is comprised of reviewing Williams' filmography, which will be posted on their YouTube channel as well as their main site. Existing hospital charities have also seen boosts in donations made in Williams' name, especially the children's hospitals for which he deeply cared.

It seems a fitting goal, however, to host this charity film festival in Colorado. Williams' acting career launched with the 1978 sitcom Mork & Mindy, produced on-location in Boulder. The festival, if goals are reached, will pay tribute to the beloved comedian as well as support suicide prevention through Shepard's chosen charity, the Second Wind Fund.

Second Wind is a Colorado-based organization whose mission is to decrease suicidal incidences within the youth community. Ticket proceeds for the Robin Williams Film Fest will go to the Second Wind Fund, while the movies screened can benefit everyone in the community, bringing them together for a night of laughter and camaraderie. The campaign runs through 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time on October 3, 2014.

Though the circumstances for spiked charity awareness are so often sour, it's inspiring that so much good can surmount these tragedies. And somewhere out there, Mork is smiling down at us, and the mark he's left on our world.

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