Bonnie MacRae’s short film All Up There is relatable and darkly comical for endometriosis sufferers

Tackling the depressing realities of medical misogyny, chronic illness and coming of age, the director’s recent short is a poignant satirical portrayal of the journey to an endometriosis diagnosis.

5 June 2024


“Is it unreasonable to consider that it might just be… all up there?”: A sentence all too many people with periods may have heard from medical professionals when pursuing an explanation for their debilitating pain. It’s also one of the final lines of Bonnie MacRae’s “6-minute rollercoaster ride” of a short film on the messy, painstaking and isolating process of seeking a diagnosis for endometriosis, whilst coming of age.

Awarded best director at this years BFI Future Film Festival for the micro-budget film, the Dundee-born filmmaker often finds herself working on moving image projects surrounding important political and social topics, with her previous film Mind Yersel highlighted by BBC Scotland as a powerful account of the men’s mental health crisis in her hometown. This time tackling the subject of endometriosis, through her own lived experiences, Bonnie’s recent film All Up There documents the life of Eilidh (played by Hannah Collins) as she lives with the chronic illness. Bookended by home footage and audio of her own flare-ups, the project visualises a very personal story. Bonnie says: “I would end up in hospital every month with what I now know is endometriosis – a chronic, incurable gynaecological condition with little research, funding or understanding behind it [...] I found it really hard to put into words exactly how I felt, and that’s where All Up There started…”


Bonnie MacRae: All Up There (Copyright © Bonnie MacRae, 2022)

Fast-paced, immersive and multifaceted, the film’s visuals contrast shots of hospital waiting rooms with youthful nights out, aiming to present audiences with the duality of life with a chronic illness. To raise a truthful awareness of the subject, Bonnie felt it was important to show “not only the physicalities of the condition and the mental toll it plays but also the ‘normal’ parts of a young person’s life”, she says. The contrast between these two visual worlds was “one of the most important things to establish” in the film's edit, in order to show the wider impact an invisible condition can have and for audiences to see “just how hard it can be to have parts of your life taken away from you” when coming of age.

Having her message for vital changes to endometriosis care at the forefront, the whole project was shot over two days in Glasgow with a fully female crew and a very small budget from the support of GMAC film and Creative Scotland. With no formal production or filmmaking training, “I was very much learning as I went along”, Bonnie says. The project was also an opportunity to do all the post production for a story very personal to her, tying up her edit with a collaboration with DJ and composer Kerr Darling for the film’s electronic soundtrack. Kerr’s track was constructed from sounds Bonnie had sampled from her “GP waiting room, the hospital and the answering machine”, showing the reality of some of her medical experiences in the smaller details of the film’s soundscape.

Since its debut the film has garnered attention from festivals and online platforms, giving Bonnie the opportunity to sign with Bacon Productions as well as make her move down to London to “start giving directing a proper go”, she says. Bonnie also had the chance to screen the short in parliament where she hosted a panel alongside charities, politicians and campaigners to give a speech on her experiences with endometriosis – an experience that made her feel both “inspired and deflated” she tells us.

Overwhelmed with how many people have connected with the film and shared their journeys to diagnosis with her, Bonnie explains that "there’s still so much that needs to happen next to improve and revolutionise Endometriosis care”. With the film’s end credits delivering some pressing statistics: “1.5 million people live with endometriosis in the UK” and “54 percent of people don’t know what it is” there is still a long way to go... “But to know that All Up There has played a tiny part in connecting with those who suffer means the world to me”, the director says.

GalleryBonnie MacRae: All Up There (Copyright © Bonnie MacRae, 2022)


Jamie Johnston: All Up There (Copyright © Jamie Johnston, 2022)

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Bonnie Macrae: All Up There trailer (Copyright © Bonnie MacRae, 2022)

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About the Author

Ellis Tree

Ellis Tree (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a junior writer in April 2024 after graduating from Kingston School of Art with a degree in Graphic Design. Across her research, writing and visual work she has a particular interest in printmaking, self-publishing and expanded approaches to photography.

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