Posted on February 22, 2011
Cyrus Daniel Napolitano
3rd Annual Mind's Eye Film Festival at Fountian House
Education Unit, Fountain House
I would like to share my own personal experience of creating a film for the Third Annual Mind’s Eye Film Festival. The process began with a germ of an idea back in the early fall of 2010, with a one-page treatment written for review by Annie Russell, the Unit worker assigned to Audio/Visual. The original intent was to create an autobiographical narrative called “The Darkside: Innocence Lost,” an edgy, nervy narrative about my life as told through the prism of body modifications such as tattoos and piercings.
What I ended up with was something very different. Yes, it was still edgy, but in a more serious tone than originally conceived. The film became an intensely disturbing, semi-autobiographical look, at my first psychotic episode and the first instance of childhood sexual abuse back in kindergarten/first grade (I don’t remember which).
Over the ensuing months, the process continued through discussions with my psychologist about revealing the dark side of my life, about exposing my demons to my friends and, eventually, my family. This was unnerving to say the least. I expressed my disquiet over how this revelation would affect me and how it would affect my relationships with friends and staff at Fountain House.
In addition, I was concerned that the film would be taken the “wrong” way, that people would misinterpret it, or worse, that people just wouldn’t like it. Or even worse than that, that they would laugh at it and not take it seriously. My fears turned out to be mere phantoms, mere nothingness that didn’t hold up to scrutiny.
Public reaction was varied, with comments ranging from “Interesting – in a good way” to “Great job, big daddy!” Of course, what I really wanted was for my film to touch someone in such a way, that it would leave an indelible mark on their soul. And this is precisely what I think happened with one individual, who shall remain unnamed for confidentiality reasons. This person expressed to me how much he struggled with similar demons and that it’s really important to know that we are all human and that we are all connected by the heart, one to the other. He stated all this while holding back the emotional swelling up of tears, struggling with his feelings of being seen and heard, perhaps for the first time.
Very few could understand how much this meant to me as a filmmaker. I too, was being seen and heard, not being ridiculed or laughed at, but taken quite seriously by another human being. And this is the bottom line, that for all the work that went into making my film, the collaboration amongst members and staff in A/V and elsewhere, the fun and excitement of creating something new, it all boiled down to that moment. Of reaching out and touching someone’s heart. A greater gift than any other that I have ever received.