This my entry for Heads Up Movie Awards promoting mental health issues in the over 18s category.
It's a short film that deals with silence, isolation, pain, grief and stigma's attached to mental health issues in Ireland. In my opinion and the opinions of many other people, Ireland is one of the worst places to be in the developed world if you are suffering from a mental illness. I know this from experience.
Anyway I discovered about this competition very late Sunday night (October 23rd 2011). I decided to have a shot at it despite the lack of organisation and limited time. I realised I would have to contact people immediately to see whether they were interested. Additionally I had never shot a short film in my life and had little idea how to do it or how to use Sony Vegas Pro. I didn't even have time to write some sort of script or plot so this film is off the top of my head as it was shot. Yet things that stood for me was everyone's willingness to participate, the weather, my experience in photography (amateur photographer) and finally having such a talented sister for composing music for the film.
I would like to thank everyone who helped in this project. You all did unbelievable/convincing performances. I found it stressful enough as it is but I probably would have keeled over from a heart attack if I didn't get the support lol!
Director/Photographer/Leading Actor (Borderline)/Editor- Joe Johnston (me)
Actress (Bulimia)-Claire O' Niell
Actress (Borderline Mother)-Catherine Gallagher
Actress(Bulimia Mother)-Joan Thunder
My Dog: Yuki starring himself
Photographer Assistants-Stephen and Alan Johnston
Lighting Assistants- Katie Thunder, Alan Johnston, Frances Johnston, Anne Johnston, Oonagh Thunder, Chloe Hopkins
Transport-Anne Johnston, Dan Morrissey, Alan Johnston
I found the mask to be very effective way of subtly communicating with the viewer what I mentioned above, that is, the isolation, stigma etc attached to mental illnesses.
Furthermore we usually associate white (mask colour) with innocence. All mental health suffers are NOT responsible or creators of their illness. Another thing you probably noticed is that this mask isn't endearing, at all, in fact it's little scary (a bit like Jason's mask to be honest). This was done on purpose as it makes you slightly afraid of the person with the mental illness, showing you that people think they are freaks or severely different.
I'm sure you guessed it from the short film, people, especially young people rarely want to tell others about their problems. They bottle up their emotions and as result manifests itself as anger/depression/grief and even suicide. The mask shows that they don't want to be discovered. Also the protagonists/victims conceal their illness when they cover it wit a jumper/shirt.
Another reason I wrote the name of the illnesses on the body, is to convey that these people fully believe they have the illnesses. I'm a firm believer of "what you believe you are is what you are". I stopped believing I had Cluster Personality Disorder.
Canon 5d Mark II
Rode Stereo Videomic
Canon EF f/1.8 50mm
Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG
Tokina 100mm f/2.8 PRO
Shot at 1080/30P
*1 Halogen 500W Lamp from hardware shop (€20)
Reflective Insulation from my room
Lastolite Trigrip diffuser
Sony Vegas Pro 11.0 (trial)
AND YES I KNOW THERE ARE SO MANY MISTAKES! I'm well aware of that, it's just I had no time to edit it properly. My sister only composed 46 secs of the song, because I thought it I would only use it at the end, so replicated the music... poorly. Editing is poor due to my lack of experience and limited time to finish this.
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