Short Film: Art with Impact and The Letter
Talking about mental health issues like depression are hard to talk about. People would rather not address the elephant in the room in order to sustain the comfortability of silence. Films, music, television and even short web films are spheres in which a conversation can be created in order to address those issues. My own anxiety, fears and instability of mental health when portrayed onscreen has been wonderful cathartic releases. Shows likes Maria Bamford’s Lady Dynamite on Netflix or characters like Aya Cash’s on You’re the Worst and Rachel Bloom’s on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend allows a conversation to be had about issues that plague a lot of people.
Art with Impact is a nonprofit that has tried to advocate for more young filmmakers to talk about these issues in film. By creating media and stories of representation, this creates an empathetic world that is often marked by loneliness. They pick a short film every month or so and give grants based on their subject matter and their ability to tackle such an issue.
The most recent winner is Brian A. Ross’ The Letter. Ross has been working in the entertainment industry for a while now, working on MTV shows such as Ridiculousness. His short follows a man as he tries to make his suicide perfect from the perfect song to the perfect letter, all the way to something as micro as the paper he is writing on. Often times, suicide is a choice that is made in a time of crisis. The main character here tries to suppress that by trying to maintain an image of control, thus his attention to details when it comes to committing the deed. But, life is not controllable and the film throws a monkey wrench into his life.
What follows is a twee, life affirming message of friendship. The film is shot around the Washington Square Park area, a place in which loneliness can be as present as the number of people there. But, there is a comfort to strangers because, even when it does not seem so, like-minded people are out there. What brings them together could be something as simple