Anxiety is one of the world’s most common mental health conditions. London-based filmmakers, Lily Rose Thomas and Stephen Isaac-Wilson, who both suffer with the condition, have created A Short Film About Anxiety in the hopes of providing relief for many around the world who suffer in silence. “We wanted this film to help legitimise the emotion of feeling anxious, and for people who don’t suffer from it to illustrate how it can sometimes feel. We hope the film will inspire people to talk more openly about what they’re experiencing, be that with friends, work colleagues or family members.”
The film depicts a series of personal and intimate conversations with contributors via iPhones, discussing their relationships with anxiety in their “place of comfort.” The use of iPhones as an interface for these conversations was a deliberate one, reflecting our close relationships to our mobile phones. “They’re the first thing we use in the morning and the last thing at night. We thought for that reason, they’d make the perfect device for such personal and intimate interviews,” Lily told us. Lily and Stephen were not present for each interview, instead providing every interviewee with the same set of questions, facilitating a way for them to explore their feelings in a private space, unprompted by anyone or anything else.
These interviews are interspersed with beautifully shot, sometimes calming and sometimes dramatic, fantasy sequences inspired by the pair’s own relationships with the condition and accompanied by the music of Jacob Samuel. Throughout the film these scenes rise in tempo and noise, supported by Jacob’s soundtrack, to intensify and explore the rapid sense of panic anxiety sufferers feel. These manic scenes are contrasted with still, more serene scenes, however, to show that there can be relief: “even though sometimes when you are feeling anxious it can seem as if there is no way out, things can get better.”
The pair hope that the film, in short, will “remind people, including ourselves, that it’s important to not allow these anxious feelings to consume you. In most cases, when we have the courage to tell people how we’re feeling, we allow them to act and operate in ways that are accommodating.”
1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem every year, and in England, 1 in every 6 people report a common mental health problem – like anxiety and depression – each week. But only 1 in 4 people in the UK reporting mental health difficulties receive ongoing treatment. If you have been affected by any of the issues discussed in today’s coverage, if you would like to find out more or to donate, please contact Mind or CALM.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.