A film about a woman's slow descent into schizophrenia, a story of madness, loss and reconciliation. Adapted from Kate Chopin's novel.
The project has come about by way of two concepts: schizophrenia and my own intense desire to adapt Kate Chopin's novel The Awakening into a truly memorable, intrinsically striking visual medium. I didn't just want to re-tell the story of Edna Pontellier, because this isn't about Edna Pontellier. Although this story is loosely inspired by the novel, my film is not based on the novel. It is critical that reviewers understand this difference before choosing to back my project.
This is meant to be a genuine, eye-opening narration, a piece representative of the stories of real women who have experienced the same, and fought back the same. It isn't about sugar-coating, it isn't about underscoring either.
The film is about Romy Strayer, a young woman who, somehow, beyond all measure, reconciles her condition and ultimately, her identity-who takes matters into her own hands and chooses to go on and do wonderful things in spite of the odds. This film is an hommage to the countless men, women and children who have been diagnosed with various forms of schizophrenia, and who haven't been as fortunate.
I was also partially inspired by Dr. Elyn Saks, who courageously published an autobiography, called The Center Cannot Hold, which told the tale of her own personal battle with one of the most terrifying types of schizophrenia, beginning with an in-depth recollection of her upbringing and childhood, and on to the onset of the disease, as well as a descriptive narration on how it continued to affect her throughout her adulthood. The book also shares Elyn's own theories about how she, out of so many patients, has been able to live a productive life and enjoy a long-term relationship, as well as an enormously successful career as a Dean at University of Southern California (where she still works today).
Elyn Saks' stayed with me, lingering in my mind until at last I found myself researching everything I could about this disease. Then, an idea sprang forth to share this story with others. Realising that there have been other films made about this particular subject matter, I still feel they have left much to be desired in the way of describing how terrifying Schizophrenia is to the victim. I feel that little background information on the disorder has been shared with audiences. There are still too many questions, too many voids to be filled. Why not be the one to shed light on this topic in an engaging, creative way ? Why not ?
And so here I am, beseeching you, my peers, to bless this cause (because there is an underlying cause in all of us, after all) and its purpose, which is to inform, incite and encourage others to do the same. To say something.
Katharyn R. King
Actress, writer, aspiring filmmaker, and unabashed something-sayer.
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