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Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 (2016)

Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405 (original title)
A brilliant but tortured 56-year-old artist channels her depression and anxiety into her work.


Frank Stiefel


Tom Wudl
Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Tom Wudl Tom Wudl ... Self


Mindy Alper is a tortured and brilliant 56 year old artist who is represented by one of Los Angeles' top galleries. Acute anxiety, mental disorder and devastating depression have caused her to be committed to mental institutions undergo electro shock therapy and survive a 10 year period without the ability to speak. Her hyper self awareness has allowed her to produce a lifelong body of work that expresses her emotional state with powerful psychological precision. Through interviews, reenactments, the building of an eight and a half foot papier-mache' bust of her beloved psychiatrist, and examining drawings made from the time she was a child, we learn how she has emerged from darkness and isolation to a life that includes love, trust and support. Written by Frank Stiefel

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Her art saved her life.


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Featured in The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2018: Documentary (2018) See more »

User Reviews

Amazing Life Portrait of an Artist Suffering From Mental Illness
13 February 2018 | by apollack11See all my reviews

This is an amazing and intimate portrait of an artist, Mindy Alper, who has suffered from life-long mental illness. I was mesmerized throughout, listening to the interviews, the life history, interactions with family and friends, the serious struggles, the impacts upon her life, and how art, those in the art world, and those in the mental health profession, have helped to give her some modicum of joy in an otherwise depressing life. Interwoven into the film is her art, and it interacts perfectly with her state of mind. Even the way Alper speaks, and her pronunciations of words, was utterly unique. Instead of "when I was 19," she would say, "when I was one-nine." Instead of saying 10 years, she would say "after ten times around the sun." And once you watch the film, you will understand why. If I had a vote, I would choose this to win the Oscar.

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Release Date:

26 October 2018 (Taiwan) See more »

Also Known As:

Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

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