Woman Trapped in Bed Fights for Right to Die

logo_2x-5eea932d4af25172b6ffbe2d4f4ee99e28ff88e499935baec7c6f4ad1abc0ab2What kind of condition forces someone to be trapped in bed, unable to move their body while they suffer in complete darkness? Well, we can’t tell you — because doctors can’t diagnose it.

For Gina, a New Zealand woman in her mid-40s, the condition is a very real, very painful situation she’s endured for more than a decade. Her illness leaves her body in an incredibly fragile state, unable to use her voice or move her limbs. She spends every day in bed, wearing a blindfold and earphones; sunlight and sound bring her too much pain.

As reported by news.com.au, a new documentary called One Woman’s Fight to Die, directed by Wendell Cooke, follows Gina and her request to die from voluntary euthanasia. Using a touch alphabet to communicate, Gina explains that she wants her doctor to give her medicine that would send her to sleep and allow her to die a humane death. But New Zealand does not allow assisted suicide. In the United States, it’s legal in Montana, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and some parts of New Mexico, according to CNN.

No matter your stance on assisted suicide, this short, three-minute video is a heartbreaking insight into one woman’s struggle to survive a life restricted to bed.

via Van Winkle’s

Wilbur Force

SOTW-Laurels-NameLET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!! Weighing in at 3mins & 30secs and coming straight out of the Loading Docs stable, J.Ollie Lucks’ high-tempo short Wilbur Force is a heavyweight example of just how much fun you can pack into such a tight duration. Piledriving his camera into the face of ex-pro-wrestling star and friend Wilbur Force, director Lucks has created a hilarious, yet touching short that centres around themes of friendship and fame.

“What if the man I have become gets to meet the man I could have become.”

Created as part of the Loading Docs series, an initiative that produces short (3-minute) documentaries to help promote and develop New Zealand filmmaking talent, director Lucks admits the main inspiration behind by his short, was the desire to work with his friend. “I always wanted to make films with Wilbur”, he says, “it started out as a straight-up documentary about the challenges he deals with regarding his weight etc. But then life happened. Wilbur happened… and things took a different turn….I set out for the process of creating this documentary to help Wilbur get off his ass. And it totally worked…There is a saying that I like and want to address with this film: What if the man I have become gets to meet the man I could have become. Holding on to ones best self is so important but quite hard at times. We all know what it is like. Thereby this documentary is also about the importance of friendship in reminding you of your former, best self”.  Read more

Madness Made Me

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 11.01.43 amDown the end of the long polished corridor, Mary O’Hagan comes face to face with the condemning words written about her in her psychiatric files. Director: Nikki Castle Producer: Alexander Gandar

“The files were all about me, but couldn’t see ‘me’ in them.”

This is a wonderful 3-minute film that sums up the feelings of someone ‘lost’ in the mental health system. It’s also about recovery. I think the film is best summed up by someone who has been there, so I leave you words from Laura Delano from her excellent website.

‘I watched the 3-minute documentary Madness Made Me the other day, and found myself nodding in solidarity and thinking “Hear, hear!” to myself as I watched the protagonist, Mary O’Hagan, reclaim her personal narrative from psychiatry.  Read more

One Woman’s Fight to Die

logo_atlantic-5b33470f4ada56c0097447002ab7a177Gina has an extreme genetic disorder that has caused her muscles to deteriorate. Sound and light harm her ears, so she sits in complete darkness. Gina communicates using a touch alphabet method—and in this moving short film from New Zealand’s Loading Docs initiative, she makes her case for voluntary euthanasia. “I think a compassionate god would want people to have the option of a humane death,” Gina says, her words flashing on the screen. The film is minimalistic and visual, and for a few minutes we are able to get a brief sense of what it’s like in Gina’s silent, dark world.  Read more

A UN Advisor Reading What Psychiatrists Wrote About Her Will Make You Question “Insanity”

ThePlaidZebraLogoAt the end of a long and sterile corridor, Mary O’Hagan feels the noose of madness begin to tighten. As a young woman in the 1970s, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and spent several dark years in and out of psychiatric hospitals.

“I’m glad I didn’t know I was going to be the chair of an international network, have a book published in Japanese, advise the United Nations or become a New Zealand mental health commissioner. If I’d told a psychiatrist I was going to do these things they would have upped my anti-psychotics on the spot. They kept pouring accelerant onto my years of despair by telling me I had an ‘ongoing disability’ and needed to ‘lower my horizons,’ writes O Hagan.  Read more

One Woman’s Fight to Die

logo_atlantic-5b33470f4ada56c0097447002ab7a177Gina has an extreme genetic disorder that has caused her muscles to deteriorate. Sound and light harm her ears, so she sits in complete darkness. Gina communicates using a touch alphabet method—and in this moving short film from New Zealand’s Loading Docs initiative, she makes her case for voluntary euthanasia. “I think a compassionate god would want people to have the option of a humane death,” Gina says, her words flashing on the screen. The film is minimalistic and visual, and for a few minutes we are able to get a brief sense of what it’s like in Gina’s silent, dark world.

The Loading Docs initiative supports 10 filmmaking teams to create three-minute, creative documentaries that tell New Zealand stories. This year’s theme is connection.

via The Atlantic

Dunedin Doco Helps Wrestler Rediscover Mojo

header_logo-1After years of neglecting his passion, a Dunedin wrestler is back in the ring.

Producer Veronica Harwood-Stevenson said the three-minute wrestling documentary Wilbur Force was filmed in Dunedin and Central Otago over three cold June days.

”We had weather was that was not conducive to wearing Lycra,” Ms Harwood-Stevenson said.

”It was freezing,” actor and wrestler Wilbur McDougall said.

The documentary premiered at the International Film Festival in Auckland last month and can be watched online.

The film had been well received, Ms Harwood-Stevenson said.

”People love it.”  Read more

Madness Made Me – A 3-Minute Documentary

cropped-Laura0724-nearfinalI watched the 3-minute documentary Madness Made Me the other day, and found myself nodding in solidarity and thinking “Hear, hear!” to myself as I watched the protagonist, Mary O’Hagan, reclaim her personal narrative from psychiatry.  Afterwards, I sat with an intense mix of joy and despair as I smiled at the strength of the human spirit and shook my head at the fundamentally unjust and dehumanizing nature of the psychiatric record.  It’s so big and so profound, though unless you’ve been subjected to a psychiatrist’s note-taking yourself, few ever recognize this.

As mental patients, our entire humanity is reduced to a list of symptoms, entirely subjective (i.e. “professional”) opinions on our worth and our character jotted down in sloppy handwriting.  These arbitrary, invented words are scribbled down in a matter of minutes but have the power to strip us of our identity, our right to fresh air, our bodily integrity, the sanctity of our minds, our dignity, our humanness.  And of course, though we may awaken to their absurdity and abandon them as we become ex-mental patients, these pages upon pages of invented words will forever follow us in written record, stored in hospital basements and file cabinets, ghosts of our past.

Thank you, Mary O’Hagan, for sharing your story, and thank you to Nikki Castle for directing this beautiful, thought-provoking, empowering, haunting film.

via Recovering from Psychiatry by Laura Delano

Documentary Focus on Fantasy Cave

Film still from short documentary Fantasy Caves.

The magical kingdom that is Dannevirke’s Fantasy Cave and the 100 volunteers who keep the fairy dust flying star in a new documentary.

Film-makers Matt Henley and Michelle Savill have released the documentary in conjunction with the Loading Docs Project and the short video has run as a prelude to the International Film Festival at Auckland’s Civic Theatre this week.

With its theme of “why do people create?”, the documentary is one of 10 short New Zealand films and for Henley returning to the Fantasy Cave was something he had wanted to do since his first visit when he was 9.  Read more

Loading Docs 2015

gh_logo_150x150A couple of weeks ago I went to the Academy Cinema on a freezing evening for the launch of Loading Docs, and it was so great I wanted to try to recreate the experience for you. Loading Docs is a platform and incubator for short form documentaries dreamed up by two Aucklanders, Anna Jackson and Julia Parnell. Each year, ten short documentary proposals are selected for the initiative, and by the end of the process ten beautiful three minute films are released across a wide variety of networks including Air NZ In-Flight, TVNZ on demand, and this year, the New Zealand International Film Festival. Loading Docs is an incredible opportunity for young film makers, and this year’s crop of documentaries were a joy to see on the big screen.

The coolest thing about Loading Docs is that I don’t have to stop at just telling you about them, they are all available online so I can show you as well. So maybe take yourself to a quiet place, select full screen, and spend 30 minutes watching all of them, one after the other.

Read more