The short film Struggles Within has received an “Official Selection” at The Canada Independent Film Festival. The film now goes into competitive judging against a number of other films in the “Experimental Film Category”. All official selections can be seen through the virtual screening sessions on the festivals Vimeo channel held in January. Notification on if a film will be shown at the live festival will be released by the festival in Late December. The live festival and Awards Ceremony will be held in Montreal on February 16 th 2019.
This is Struggles Within’s second “Official Selection” and goes along with winning the “Best experimental film” at the fall edition of the Alternative Film Festival in Toronto and two final nominations at the 2018 Top Indie Film Awards. The film received nominations for awards in the categories of “Best Experimental Short” and “Best Original Idea”. The film did not win but the cast and crew were honoured to be nominated for awards.
The film is turning heads as it speaks to people in the international language of dance and drama with very few words explaining the message. Something that the film’s co-producer and m & s Marshall productions co-owner Matthew Marshall feels is strength and a weakness in the film. “The strength is that language is not a barrier in the film for people to see it, relate to it and understand from around the world. The weakness is even with the updates and added images some people still are struggling with what the film is about” says Marshall. That has been seen in a few film festivals who have not got what the film is trying to say. But for the most part, anyone who suffers from depression or anxiety is understanding the film and feel that the message is right on point. One viewer had this to say about people or festivals that are not getting the message. “If you see the film and you don’t understand it, then you yourself or no one near you has struggled with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. This film has its finger on the pulse of what it is like to deal with the inner demons in your head and what visually it looks like to have and deal with depression on a daily bases.” says Alexis G.
The film is a 14 minute telling of a “story through almost all music and dance” about a girl struggling with depression and contemplating suicide. It’s about her choices to find the hope to continue to live. “The story is told through the thoughts of the main character”, Marshall says. The film is a timely story that speaks to what many people in society are struggling with. It’s done in a way that words do not fill the story, but images, dance, and music do, so the viewer can “feel” the story being told on screen. It also can be related to, if the person watching has had experience in their life either personally or through a member of their family with the issue of depression or mental illness. Many who have seen the film feel it shows what many people “feel” in struggling with depressions and mental illness.
“Struggles Within” is written and directed by Corrinne Wood a Chatham native. “Mental illness is something really near and dear to my heart, and this film is designed to show an audience who may not be struggling with mental illness what kind of daily struggles really goes on inside the mind of someone struggling with depression”, says Wood.
The cast features: Katie Ostojic, Morgan Flanagan, Camryne Quinn, Maysee McLean, Julia Hunter, Olivia Torrance, Talitha Wood, Amy Krosnicki, Carly Schelken, Chassidy Fleming, Mackenzie Hyatt, Elizabeth White, Bianca Sinclair, Abby Johnston, Nia Wood, Ashley Wood and Rylan Rand.
The film was a collaboration between IME Films, m & s Marshall Productions and iFilmGroup. Filming of the project became a story onto itself of life imitating the art being created. “The film became about this group of people who had an understanding of depression and mental illness through life experience or association with people who had been through it. The team wanted to share the message …that it’s OK to struggle. That through talking and communication about the issue we can help each other,” says Marshall. “Struggles Within” was filmed and features dancers, actors and crew from St. Thomas and London.
Since its release, the production team has received many messages and responses from people who suffer from depression and mental illness saying how much they enjoyed the production and how much it has spoken to them. “We are touching lives with the film and that is something very special,” says Marshall. Marshall is known for making and being a part of films that speak to people on various levels. Especially emotionally. “a film by Matthew Marshall always makes you think and gives you something to digest after watching it. They generally evoke a reaction or emotion” says Don Hickey, co-founder of iFilmGroup. Hickey feels that it is something that both he and Marshall share. The ability to make stories that have a very human aspect and teach a life lesson and cause a person to think. “It really is at the heart of the iFilmGroup mission to help those involved learn and grow as they journey through life.