Oscars 2015: Who Dana Perry Is and Why She Want Us to Pay Attention to Suicide

Dana Perry accepted the Oscar on behalf of "Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1."

ByABC News
February 23, 2015, 12:54 AM

— -- While accepting the Oscar for best documentary short subject, producer Dana Perry said suicide should be talked about "out loud," dedicating the award to her son.

During her acceptance speech on behalf of "Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1," the music abruptly cut off when Perry mentioned her son, Evan Scott Perry, who committed suicide at age 15 in 2005.

"I lost my son," Perry told reporters after the speech. "We need to talk about suicide out loud to try to work against the stigma and silence around suicide because the best prevention for suicide is awareness and discussion and not trying sweep it under the rug."

Perry also mentioned veteran suicide in her Oscar speech, which she called "a crisis." Tonight's Oscar-winning HBO documentary, directed by Perry and Ellen Goosenberg Kent, is about the Department of Veterans Affairs' 24-hour call center for veterans.

In 2009, Perry produced an HBO documentary about her son, who had bipolar disorder, called "Boy Interrupted."

"This is a movie one wishes one did not have to make. Maybe it will break down walls, and stigmas about talking openly about mental illness, to free people to do so without shame," Perry told "The Huffington Post" in 2009.

"The film asks a lot of questions in a public fashion and stirs up discussion about why we as a society are ashamed about mental illness," she continued. "Educating people is a real challenge. And, education and treatment is the only suicide prevention. Let's get the word out."

Perry’s family has a history of mental illness; she said her son's uncle also committed suicide, according to HBO.com.

Perry’s career includes documentaries centered on another passion in her life -- music. Her doc “Top Ten Monks,” focused on Austrian monks who sing. She also produced a 2004 VH1 doc, executive produced by Russell Simmons, “And You Don’t Stop: 30 Years of Hip Hop.” Her love of music was also showcased when she produced in 1998 a four-hour ABC special, “Motown 40: The Music Is Forever” and “VH1 Presents the 70’s” for the cable network.

The Oscar winner has also worked with musicians such as Aerosmith, Peter Gabriel, Yoko Ono, AC/DC and Alice Cooper.

She is married to cinematographer Hart Perry.