Review: I Am delivers a compassionate picture of schizophrenia

One year after I wrote about the crowdfunding campaign for I Am, I had the privilege of seeing the final product. I could not have been more pleased with how the film turned out and I cannot wait for the public to see this film.

I Am follows a young woman named Gabi who is suffering from schizophrenia and also in the process of moving in with her boyfriend. Gabi has not told her boyfriend about her condition and she is struggling with managing it while trying to figure out how to tell him. We learn that this has not gone well for her in the past so she worries that once he knows, he’ll leave her.

It’s an incredibly lonely position to be in and I Am captures this amazingly in its brief runtime. At around 14 minutes from start to credits, I Am has to communicate a lot of story in a very short time and it manages to do so.

Oriane Pick and Sally Faulkner in I Am

Leads Oriane Pick (Call it a Day) and Charlie MacGechan (We Die Young) both deliver in their roles. Oriane painting a picture of a young woman doing her best to manage her relationship while hiding a difficult mental condition and Charlie playing an excited, then concerned boyfriend. With that said, it is the music and visuals that put the film over the top and make it a special experience.

When you think of schizophrenia you think of paranoid delusions and hearing voices. The word has a strong negative connotation that leads most directly to thinking the worst. If someone told you they were schizophrenic you would likely be afraid of them based on the way the condition is typically presented in media. These stigmas and assumptions are what I Am is looking to combat.

Through the use of music and visual effects, we are taken into Gabi’s world. We see what she sees and hear what she hears. It’s not scary at all and the music in the film makes it feel magical and soothing.

Most of Gabi’s hallucinations are obvious but not all of them. It is interesting watching Gabi navigate her reality where she knows to ignore some things but has to think about others to decide what’s real and what isn’t.

Oriane Pick and Sally Faulkner in I Am

It is clear to me, after watching the film that a person who suffers from schizophrenia could be aided tremendously by having a sympathetic partner who can help guide them through those moments of doubt. By the end of the film I wanted this for Gabi.

Overall, I feel I gained a much better understanding of how schizophrenia manifests. I feel that the next time I hear or think of the condition I will have less of those negative thoughts immediately come to mind. With that said, I believe that I Am accomplished its mission.

Successes so far

I mentioned earlier that the music in I Am was great and I am not the only one who felt this way. I Am won its first award in July at the 2021 Paris International Short Festival when Hollie Buhagiar won Best Composer for her work on the film. This was a much deserved win and I’ll update this post later if more wins come in.

What is next for I Am?

While watching the film I couldn’t help but wonder if the story might be able to be converted into a full length feature. Many successful short films do make the leap and I was able to confirm with the producers that the film was made with the intention to turn it into a feature some day. In the meantime, the short is still making its way through the festival circuit and I will keep you posted on a potential release date.

You can watch the trailer below:

Get involved

Candid Broads Productions is behind a series of films that are devoted to tearing down stigmas associated with different mental health conditions. They’ve produced and are in production on several brilliant shorts thus far and are currently crowdfunding for their anorexia short titled Ice Cream.

I personally have gotten involved in a few of their past campaigns and can vouch for their work. If their name is attached you will be part of something special, important, or both.

Here is the link to the campaign: Learn more about Ice Cream

-Bibs

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