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Reset review and interview: make mental health a priority and not a luxury

Reset is a short movie, documenting how eighteen year old university student Antonia blogged to improve her mental health during lockdown. Antonia’s quotes were the star of the movie. I was particularly fond of the phrase: “Not on treadmill that is life,” in reference to how her time in lockdown encouraged her to focus on herself and take a more leisurely stance day-to-day. She also noted that “self-care is not a privilege; it should be a mandatory part of your life.” It is easy to forget this when you have the opportunity to self-reflect continually, when others are suffering with their mental health, homelessness, unemployment and difficult home lives during this time.

The simplicity of the shots captured the simplicity of serenity and childhood. A close-up of Antonia’s wrist revealed a beaded bracelet which had her name on it. I had a bracelet like that when I was small and many of my friends did too.

The movie tugs at people’s nostalgia on many occasions. In the last shot when Antonia is leaving the park, she is wearing a backpack. “Swiper no swiping” from Dora the Explorer instantly played in my head. Backpacks are a symbol of childhood and growing up, at least for me. I had a rucksack for four years at secondary school and kept pleading with my parents for a Longchamp handbag, to be ‘like the other girls.’ My rucksack was big and bulky and added to the image of me as an awkward workaholic, with hair that could never be tamed. I did eventually get a handbag, but realised that the rucksack was not that bad after all. I look back and laugh about the ‘problems’ I had then. The movie intends on getting viewers to reflect on where they are in their lives, how they have grown and changed.

Lockdown has been a difficult period for many. Adapting to a world where physical connection is off the table is hard. However, Antonia implores viewers to see the benefits of lockdown. A negative event, especially one as big as COVID, has the power to erase the positives, but if we allow ourselves to take time out and reflect, we will see that we have done things worthy of note. “The digital space is infinite” and the way everyone has dealt with the migration to a digital world should be applauded. Natalia and the film team at GGM UK should receive the biggest round of applause for creating a film during lockdown. This is by no means an easy feat, but proves that the power to succeed will overcome even the most awful of events.

As Antonia embarks on her university journey, as well as the director, Natalia, I wish them the best of luck. The replacement of in-person seminars and mortar boards with zoom calls and bathrobes was completely unexpected. I feel sorry for all students, from primary school to university, whose time in education is altered beyond repair. These memories and growing years simply cannot be replicated in the future. I hope that the resilience shown by all of these individuals does not go unnoticed in society. There are better days ahead. For now, there are digital communities and hopefully, opportunities for reflection, self-care and self-improvement.

I was so impressed with the movie that I wanted to find out what inspired the director, Natalia, to make it. Natalia sat down with me for an interview:

Q: What was the inspiration behind the movie?

A: Initially it was a personal thing. Mental health is not something that people talk about easily. For my generation, Gen Z, we are more open to talking about it. This lockdown has been especially hard on this group. There is not really a place for young people to articulate how they feel. There is lots of negative press, with young people being called ‘super spreaders’ and A-level chaos. There is not much on how we are coping during this time. Stigmas we attach to mental health mean we don’t talk about it and we really should.

Q: How hard was it to make during COVID?

A: It was definitely difficult! We were planning it since June/ July. It was hard to get equipment and find subjects. We filmed in September, so there was a short window before Antonia and I had to go to university. It was challenging, but also rewarding to have created a resource for other young people.

Q: How long did it take to make the film and who was involved?

A: The pre-production stage happened between June and August, the production stage happened in September and October was the post-production stage. Ami from the film team helped with filming and camera equipment. Aisha was very involved with pre-production and post-production. I edited it all. Morisha was part of team in early stages, alongside Dami. We found unconventional ways of working on the project.

Q: As a young filmmaker, what tips would you give to other young filmmakers?

A: Just start! It is daunting and easy to compare. Don’t compare your beginning to someone’s end. Do something simple like videoing your daily routine. It is the perfect time to document what we are all going through. Try to attend free events e.g. Event Bright events, and use social media to reach out to your favourite filmmakers for advice.

Q: Advice and takeaways from the film?

A: Antonia’s quote: “Self-care is mandatory and not a luxury” is one that really stuck with me. It is hard to accept you are struggling and get institutional help sometimes. Take the time to appreciate yourself, but don’t feel like you have to talk about it with others. Focus on today and what you can do now e.g. baking a new recipe, go for a walk, and take yourself out for dinner. Improve and take care of yourself for you so you can look back and see how you have grown. Don’t let the pandemic define the remainder of your year and growth.

Pictures @ Natalia and the GGM UK film team

AUTHOR: Danielle Desouza

I am a 22 year old LSE Politics and Communication graduate, makeshift musician and aspiring political broadcaster. I am a staunch supporter of both gender and racial equality, being female and Indian. I want to edge closer to this goal daily by bringing to light injustices, through all forms of journalism.


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