Pink Skies Ahead written and directed by New York Times best-selling author Kelly Oxford
Pink Skies Ahead, written and directed by New York Times best-selling author Kelly Oxford

The coming-of-age film, Pink Skies Ahead, written and directed by New York Times best-selling author Kelly Oxford, will premiere commercial free on Saturday, May 8 at 9:00PM ET/PT on MTV with a simulcast on Pop TV.

The critically-acclaimed film, which made its world premiere at the AFI Film Festival, showcases mental health issues in a nuanced and authentic way as part of MTV’s newly-launched Mental Health is Health initiative, marks Oxford’s feature-length directorial debut and is based on “No Real Danger,” an essay from her second book, “When You Find Out the World Is Against You.”

Pink Skies Ahead stars Jessica Barden (End of the F***ing World, The New Romantic), Mary J. Blige (The Umbrella Academy), Devon Bostick (The 100, Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River, Pollock), Michael McKean (Better Call Saul, This Is Spinal Tap), Lewis Pullman (Bad Times at the El Royale, The Strangers: Prey at Night), Evan Ross Cameron (The United States vs. Billie Holiday, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay), Odeya Rush (Goosebumps, Lady Bird), Rosa Salazar (Alita: Battle Angel, Undone) and Henry Winkler (Barry, Happy Days).

Set in Los Angeles in 1998, it follows Winona (Barden) who, after dropping out of college and moving back home to live with her parents, is diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Skeptical of her doctor’s opinion – she hasn’t had a panic attack after all – Winona carries on with her wild lifestyle. Only when things begin to truly unravel around her, does she reluctantly decide to see a therapist and face her truths.

“Pink Skies Ahead is loosely based on events that occurred when I was nineteen years old,” says Oxford. “It is a manifestation and reckoning with my own anxiety struggles. Purely out of self-protection, I’ve spent my life creating a firmly independent exterior surface that does not reflect my inner turmoil or compulsive and obsessive worried thoughts. As a forty-two-year-old woman, I’m still grappling with shame and denial of my own inner workings as an anxious person. The catharsis of writing and directing Pink Skies Ahead was a huge step in accepting myself. And I hope our film helps others feel less shame in their “not normal” feelings than I did.”

As part of Mental Health is Health and in recognition of the powerful role media and storytelling can play in addressing our nation’s mental health challenges, MTVE convened a coalition of leading entertainment companies and mental health experts to change mental health representation in entertainment and transform the national conversation on the issue.

Watch the trailer for Pink Skies Ahead.

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