In 2009 Psycho Donuts was at the center of a controversy around the fact that, well, it runs a donut shop featuring donuts named after mental illnesses, servers styled as asylum nurses, and a padded cell. So it's not a surprise that there were protests staged by community mental health groups, forcing the owner to meet with the community and resolve some of the issues around this perceived insensitivity.
Now in a cinnamon twist of fate, Psycho Donuts is being featured in the full-length documentary film Of Two Minds, premiering Saturday at the Roxie Theater as part of the United Film Festival (see also our preview of the 2,000-mile bike tour documentary, We're Getting On). From the creative team behind Wordplay, IOUSA, Superheroes and These Amazing Shadows, Of Two Minds follows three primary characters over three years, following their lives as they live with bipolar disorder.
Jordan Zweigoron, Chief Psycho at Psycho Donuts, said, "Given our unique history with the mental health community, it's both ironic and heartwarming for Psycho Donuts to be featured in an emotionally charged documentary about bipolar disorder. Psycho Donuts is pleased to support a local homeless charity, where many residents struggle with mental illness."
The film's press release sheds light on the role of humor: "Psycho Donuts was intriguing to the filmmakers on two levels. One one hand, many of the loyal customers find it a safe haven, a place where they can be themselves, eat donuts, and laugh at the strangeness of life. Also, a common coping mechanism for many people is humor and sometimes a little levity in the midst of tragedy or hardship is what it takes to get us all through the day. Psycho Donuts may take an irreverent approach to mental illness but it is also very sensitive to the importance of shining a light on this very important and far too often suppressed topic."
In conjunction with the film's premiere in San Francisco, Psycho Donuts will be selling The Bipolar Donut: a chocolate cake donut, topped with chopped peanuts and shredded coconut. Psycho Donuts will donate 10 percent of all Bipolar Donut sales to homeless charity, Loaves & Fishes Family Kitchen.