Chronicling several significant events in their troubled relationship, “Kindling” is comprised of three individual vignettes that follow Mary’s experiences with her mother, and her mother’s alcoholism. As her mother’s alcoholism worsens, the roles of mother and daughter are reversed, which becomes increasingly difficult for Mary.
At age 7, Mary begins to witness the signs of deterioration in her Mother’s health. Despite having an innocent view of the world, Mary realizes quickly that something is wrong.
At age 13, as Mary struggles with her own adolescence, her Mother’s addiction threatens to tear them apart. As time passes, it becomes apparent that their roles have reversed.
At age 17, Mary is a young woman. She returns home one day and calls up to her Mother as usual that dinner is ready, not knowing that her life is about to change forever.
The turbulent tale of a mother and daughter battling with cultural expectations of what their roles should be is told through three isolated vignettes in “Kindling”. It is often difficult to experience a sense of fulfillment while watching a short film, as sometimes the narrative can be sacrificed to adhere to the running time. This story, however, captures the whole scenario, whilst only showing the key events. Essentially, I wanted to make a story about addiction/mental illness from the perspective of someone close to the person plagued by this disease. In today’s day and age, addiction/mental illness are still deeply stigmatized, and the surface has only been scratched on viewing it as a disease like any other health problem- even less talked about is the effect it has on the loved ones around the person suffering. It was this that inspired me to make a short film exploring addiction/mental illness and the peripheral effect it has on loved ones in an honest way, in the hopes of breaking down the stigma attached to it.
According to the World Health Organization, “One in four people in the world will be affected by mental disorders at some point in their lives… Treatments are available, but nearly two-thrids of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health care professional. Stigma, discrimination and neglect prevent care and treatment from reaching people with mental disorders” (WHO, 2001) The stigma around mental illness/addiction needs to be broken so that people are no longer living in shame and dying because of the consequences of the stigma. I believe the best way to break the stigma is to tell honest stories about mental illness/addiction in our media.
It’s time to talk about mental health.
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