SAN DIEGO - Actress Mariel Hemingway was in town Saturday night to accept a humanitarian award at the San Diego Film Festival.
She is being honored for a candid documentary about her family's long history with mental illness, substance abuse and suicide.
Hemingway's documentary is called "Running from Crazy." She says it perfectly describes her experience.
"That's what I felt my life was about," she told 10News Anchor Kimberly Hunt. "I was running from this thing, this family, this so-called curse they thought the Hemingway family had … My mother had cancer so I was running from cancer, I was running from suicide, I was running from addiction, just in the sense that my family was so plagued with these different things."
There are seven suicides, including her sister Margaux and her legendary grandfather, author Ernest Hemingway.
She remembers when her friend suggested chronicling her family's troubles.
"She said to me, 'You know, I really want to make a documentary on your family' and I said, 'Are you out of your mind? They're all crazy,'" said Hemingway. "And she laughed and said, 'Well, that's the point. '"
Hemingway finally came around to the idea.
"I'm telling the story because I think it's everybody's story," she said. "I don't think this is unique to me … because we all come from families, we all come from dysfunction. If there's anybody out there who is not dysfunctional, God bless you. I want to meet you. I want to know how you were brought up."
On Saturday evening, the 51-year-old mother of two shared the documentary at the San Diego Film Festival.
"So, to me, it's about getting information out there and exposing this issue," she said.
Hemingway was honored with a humanitarian award from the festival and Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital.
"If this award enables somebody else see something about their own life and helps them to get help... then that's a great gift," she said. "So, I'm beautifully honored and it's amazing."
Hemingway would love to remove the stigma associated with mental illness. She says it affects people from all walks of life, including her grandfather, Ernest. She says he suffered from bipolar disorder.