1st Teaser

Its rough, brief, and a little messy, but here is the first teaser look for the film. The final Documentary will hopefully be finished later in 2014 ready for distribution and the Festival Circuit.

<p>

&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=”http://vimeo.com/89588646″&gt;Semper Est Sperare: Teaser 1&lt;/a&gt; from &lt;a href=”http://vimeo.com/user24052169″&gt;Tim Hill&lt;/a&gt; on &lt;a href=”https://vimeo.com”&gt;Vimeo&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;</p><p> </p>

Amber and Aubrey: Texas

Image

 

 
More than a decade separates these sisters from a quiet Dallas suburb, and yet through the distance, there now lies a bond brought about by circumstance, and genetic dispositions. Vivacious, lively, generous, welcoming, are but a few terms which I would use to describe my experience with them, and yet what co-exists vicariously with these traits, comes a struggle, a constant battle between the rails of civilised ‘normal’ life, and the fight for stability.
Again, I observed parallels between these genuine, loving people, as with those I have been fortunate enough to meet previously. It is becoming evident to me (and I know from my own experiences), that a common theme with folks facing the constant pressure of Mental ‘Illness’, is that the burdens are seldom easy to manage, nor do they wane or dissolve with time. There is the on-going frustration of lying on the perimeters of sanity, between the ‘sane’ and ‘insane’, stuck in a looking glass, a limbo of sorts, a purgatory of innocence constantly looking from side to side, trying to avoid slipping the wrong way.
 
Both Amber and Aubrey have a diagnosis of Bi-Polar, Amber experiences the Manic dispositions, whereas Aubrey suffers a little less obviously under the veil of the depressive nature of such a convoluted condition. They openly shared with me times of hardship, incarceration, and suicide inducing episodes, and yet like with others, there is a survival instinct prevalent and strong with these two. It seems that as they have learned to live and cope with their conditions, they subconsciously have drawn a new appreciation for life, and for that most natural of instincts we all share, even if some of us have all but lost our knowledge of what it means to really ‘survive’. Both have careers, education, and family, and I was overwhelmed by the good in their lives, yet humbled once again by their attitudes to cope, especially considering they live together, and have found their own unique ways of dealing with each others dispositions. One would assume that opposing constants in a shared condition would prove unbearable in the same space, and yet I was surprised, and inspired by how they live together, not always in harmony, but they are doing their best, after all they are both aware of how important the sanctity of Family is.
 
On the subject of family, they were both aware, and both comfortable in sharing with me that age old genetic rhetoric. It is frustrating sometimes to see such a rollover of genetics, I wish for many peoples sake that these conditions weren’t in the slightest genetic, but unfortunately, as with Annie it seems mental illness is no stranger to this family. I just hope for their children’s sake, that mutations in Mental Illness are possible, and the line can be broken. I live in hope.
 
Overall, there was warmth, an unprecedented level of warmth evident from the outset, as I sheepishly crept up the cul-de-sac, where I was met with the two sisters, pointing and laughing at me from afar. I knew that this was going to be a fun encounter, and that was exactly what it was, I came away feeling inspired, that maybe I too should try my hardest to adopt such optimism in relation to my own Illness, and for that optimism I thank you both, Amber and Aubrey. Never have I had so much fun discussing Illness and suicide! Stay strong guys.

 

Real Stories 4: Annie

Annie

 

Recently I was kindly invited to meet Annie and her family. Their warmth was evident from the outset, I felt humbled once again to meet such genuine, real people. Their home was a beautiful suburban home, full of colour, charm and memories. Having previously spoken with Annie I knew the current situation, but the reality and critically, the hardship I was about to encounter was difficult to gauge, even predict.

Annie herself has faced the implore-able task of dealing with some form of mental-illness from a very young age, and her diagnosis of Bi-polar once again came much later. It was evident that, behind this kind, sincere and ultimately loving mother, was not only a struggle for survival for herself, but also for her family, and her love and dedication to her sons could be described as unrivalled, again something which evoked empathy and admiration.

Annie has two sons, the elder of which, also struggling with an evidently genetic Bi-polar condition, currently resides in an adult Legal Institution, an unbearable, unimaginably terrifying place, especially for one so young, for one barely into adulthood. The details of which I shall not explore here, but as an objective onlooker, it was clear that he certainly shouldn’t be there, especially considering his own fight with his condition. My heart went out to him, and Annie, and all I will say is that I hope for all the family’s sake, that justice is served, and this young, extremely young, talented, artistic and passionate man will receive the outcome he and his family deserve. Nobody that young deserves to suffer for such trivial and petty reasons, especially one with a serious Mental-illness, and one with so much to offer the world, I am a huge advocate of reason and justice, especially when it comes to the young and vulnerable.

I was also fortunate enough to meet Annie’s younger son, again a charming, passionate, articulate, mature young man, with strides of talent and career ahead of him. He spoke in depth about his own view of the situation, and how it was growing up knowing not only that his brother was to be incarcerated, but coercively that he too may at some point feel the subjugation of a genetic disorder, I stress ‘may’.

There was so much love in this household, but unprecedented suffering on numerous levels, and yet there was an inspiring level of optimism from all involved, and all I can really say to that is:

‘Annie and family, keep fighting, justice will be served, there is happiness and good ahead of all of you, your spirit and unparalleled love will shine, your futures are uncertain, but from time to time I feel that supernatural air of fate, and in your case, fate will deliver truth, and more importantly, smiles.’

Keep fighting guys.There is always hope.

Real Stories Interview 3: Stephanie Schroeder

Image

There are few people that walk into your life who offer an unrivalled cause for emotional overload, and fewer which can breathe such emphatic inspiration through this means at the same time. 

Recently I met Steph and her Partner Lisa in their apartment in Brooklyn, NYC. Their kindness, hospitality and down to earth veneer was evident from the outset, and yet I knew behind these caring, talented, morally grounded pair there were stories of hardship, tales of discrimination and an overbearing struggle for survival, empathy and kindred spirit were the order of the day.

Steph’s story was fascinating, it was real, it was humbling, it was heart-wrenchingly raw, and yet through all of her battles, be it emotional or physical abuse, mental illness, neglect or financial well-being, there was a woman, who to me seemed to be at the strongest point of her adult life. Having overcome numerous unprecedented circumstances, including three suicide attempts, I met a beautiful person, full of passion and creativity, critical though and journalistic talent which gave me hope that even for me maybe, there is light somewhere to be found, and it seems that Steph has finally come to terms with her mortal existence, her risk factors, and the lifestyle which  gives her the best opportunity for survival.

An avid activist for mental health, and queer rights for women (and men), she has a clear focus in life, a positive drive to change attitudes towards all minority or sub-culture taboo’s which quite frankly I support her with whole heartedly.

I thank you Steph, and Lisa for welcoming me into your home, sharing your stories with me, and I know that others will draw inspiration from this, as I have.

Leo Howe

Yesterday I met Leo Howe from south Devon, a hugely talented songwriter and musician, who has struggled with Depression for years, and more recently a diagnosis of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, something which has complicated his daily life even further. A fascinating guy, with an immense amount of talent, and yet a depth of sadness which seems to engulf his life periodically, and has done for many years now.

His story was one of episodic mania, depending on his surroundings and artistic involvement. Leo has a serious amount of kindness within him, and truly exudes sincerity, and yet I do feel for him, and certainly can identify with his suffering and especially the times he seeks solitude and his own company. Leo openly discussed with me a suicide attempt not 12 months ago, I wasn’t shocked at all, yet I could see the pain in his eyes, even through the jovial manner he maintained, the entire interview was frank, honest and I really do feel that his story could invoke some sort of hope into others, as there is much that is good and positive in Leo’s life, 12 months on from a time where this life had become too much for him.

Image

Interview 1: Clare and Ben Searle

Jazzhands!

Jazzhands!

 

Last weekend I filmed my first official interview, with fascinating couple from Bristol, Clare and Ben Searle. My main focus was Clare, however Ben, her husband also proved to be invaluable in shedding light on Clare’s illness from an outside perspective, from the perspective of one whom cares for and loves Clare, but has experienced vicariously Clare’s suffering.

Diagnosed with BDP, Social Anxiety and Depression, this has been Clare’s life since she was but a teenager. I learned a lot about her diagnosis, her struggles with daily life, but more importantly the constant fight against social acceptance and understanding she has faced for many years. In some areas I could identify wholly with her suffering, her desperation, and the inherently sickening misinterpretations she has faced, it was evident there was a kind, loving, normal young person just crying out for acceptance and a whiff of normality. Clare was and is a beautiful person, funny, intelligent and compassionate person who seems to have faced a lifetime of discrimination of some sort, not to mention mistreatment by numerous National Health so called ‘professionals’. My heart went out to Clare, and yet there were numerous positives which I identified with her current state, fore mostly her family. She has the love and support of a dedicated husband, and the magical road of motherhood laid before her with a young daughter, so it was evident that there were many positives in Clare’s life, and that her illnesses were not going to stop her in those arenas.

We went into great detail as to some more significant moments in Clare’s life, both heart-wrenching and informative. I am really pleased with the footage I have shot, and this first interview really has enthused me to kick-start the production phase of the film. It has shown me that I am not alone in the plight for acceptance, and the struggle against stigma. The support I have been shown really has been overwhelming, I just hope it continues. I am filming next weekend in South Devon with a 25 year old Man who suffers with Bi-Polar type 1, which again I am looking forward to meeting, he sounds enthusiastic and as genuine as they come. Thanks again to Clare and Ben, your kindness and hospitality was endearing, and your words were filled with realism and wisdom at the same time, you have helped get this film off the ground, and done your part in what I hope will be a collective effort to show the world, that Mental Illness is normal, and should be treated no differently, and free from stigma and prejudice. Its time to change.

Roll on interview 2, and then in a few weeks I depart for the US.

For now, be mindful.