On Sunday, the woman next door called up and invited me to a film screening at Excentris, an Indie movie theatre in Montreal. It was rather last minute but she is passionate about this film and the story it tells – about mental health and how families are affected. She convinced me. I grabbed my hat and coat and headed over to meet her there. And I am glad I did. It was a very touching, although often shocking, experience to watch a young woman, through the medium of this film, reveal the truth about her family and the pain they all went through together.
It was made over ten years by a young filmaker called Karina Garcia Casanova. She started it when she was in film school and it was just to be a short about her mother who struggled with Bipolar Disorder – but it grew to a full length feature as she included her brother, also Bipolar, and became his story. She brought in details from their childhood, and documented his tragic decline. The film is called Juanicas, It is a brave work of art and a labour of love, and shows the power of filmaking for the viewer and the filmaker both. As the truth is told with tenderness and open eyes, it is a remarkable experience for the audience to be able to be brought so intimately into a world of intense emotional pain. At the same time we witness how the film honours the family, even as they are tailspinning towards disaster,
While we were watching it, I couldn’t help but think of the young filmakers I met a few weeks ago at the Pointe-St-Charles Art School’s first Home Grown Movie Night. Eager and “looking for a home” as Melinda Hanna, the event’s organizer put it, these young filmakers, share their work with their collegues, friends and family and anyone else interested in film and looking for something a bit different on a Friday night.
Melinda is looking for submissions for the next time round. If you have a short film to present, please contact her through Facebook. And if you want to watch the movies, come and join us! The next movie night is May 1 at 7 pm It’s free, though you can make a donation to the school if you like…
And here are a couple of snaps from the last event.
By Catherine Wells
Director, Pointe-St-Charles Art School