Mass media coverage about mental health tends to come in two juxtaposed forms. The first being the rise of mental illness amongst the general population and the “alarming” recent statistic that in North America ‘one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.’ Divergently, the public, when confronted with schizophrenia, are most often introduced to the rare cases of individuals who have committed atrocious crimes and are highly demonized in the media. I believe it’s important that audiences have an opportunity to hear the other stories; those of relatable, capable and warm-hearted individuals with schizophrenia, who like everyone else, are just trying to find their place in this world.
Margot represents the other story. Having been a close, personal friend and present when her first episode originated had a huge effect on me and my understanding of this condition. (Chloe) What’s so effective about her narrative is the relatability of her surprisingly classic coming-of-age story. The film looks at her life as she moves out of her mother’s home, seeks work that is fulfilling and ultimately, ventures on the search for love. We all go through these fundamental life steps, and will continue to- but imagine throwing a complex mental illness into the swing of things. For Margot, it removed her from living a real existence for 3 years. Can you imagine how hard it would be to come back to reality? And despite these challenges, Margot’s bravery and ability to overcome demonstrates a larger message- people with schizophrenia can have successful lives, and when they do, it demonstrates an above-average, almost super human perseverance. Margot says in the film “she is a better person now then she was before” and rightly so. The film aims to demonstrate the shared obstacles that those with schizophrenia must face and the importance of value and empowerment for all.
With this in mind, we really wanted to create a stylistic form of documentary in which various aesthetic styles and formats were interweaved together to visually express the complexity of perspectives within this story. Margot’s distinct point-of-view during her episodes is replicated through distorted POV footage, while the perspectives of her friends and family is told in parallel to demonstrate how they saw the story unfolding. To add another layer, the artist in the film, Saraƒin, introduces her own colourful POV through animated comic panels. These are of course influenced by her own identification with “madness” and having gone through the psychiatric system. Her own empowerment adds to demonstrating the often unappreciated, creative abilities that comes with madness.
The self-reflexive nature of the film is central to the story and format. We, as filmmakers, consciously reflect on screen how we are impacting and twisting Margot’s story and how this film may alter her future. We hope that through our transparency as well as Margot’s, the film can inspire others to come out and talk about how mental health influences all of our lives.
- CHLOE & JAKE