Synopsis: The film follows a mother (Layla) who raises her beautiful daughter (Ebony) to have a bright future until a mental illness derails it and tests family bonds.
Layla raised her daughter Ebony to become an intelligent, caring young woman. By the time she graduated from high-school, it appeared Layla had succeeded: Ebony was on her way to medical school at UCLA and had a bright future ahead of her. However, Ebony’s mental health began to decline, and she was soon diagnosed with a Mental Illness. Unaware of her sickness, Ebony discontinues use of her medication, and begins to decline. When she decides to break into Layla’s apartment, Layla is forced to reconcile the past and swallow hard truths about the future.
Jillian Reeves (Layla)
Ariel Brown (Ebony)
Makenzie Lee-Foster (Young Ebony)
Scott Subiono (Eugene)
I was inspired to write & direct this piece after my family was impacted by a mental health crisis. I understand not only the pain, grief and feelings of helplessness on a profound level but am also acutely aware of the ignorance I lived in before this experience.
While volunteering at a local Mental Health advocacy group I heard COUNTLESS heartbroken parents, spouses and children share remarkably similar stories of their afflicted loved ones and the difficulty they experienced getting the care they so desperately needed.
I felt it was important to make this film for several reasons. First, I wanted to show the reality of what families seeking help for their loved ones go through in our current mental health system. Secondly, I wanted to highlight the potential that is lost to society due to untreated mental illness. It truly affects us all as a society as a whole not just those that are sick. Lastly, I want this film to an homage to the families and caregivers who are coping things many people cannot imagine. They are seldom talked about, overlooked in the general conversation of mental illness and often end up dealing with PTSD, anxiety, depression as a result of their caregiving duties. I want them know that they are not alone or forgotten and to acknowledge their pain and frustration with the broken system causing broken families, broken communities and broken lives.
My hope is to shed a light on the problems so that we can truly come together to find a solution for the most vulnerable among us.
NAMI estimates 1 in 4 adults in America experience a mental illness & nearly 1 in 25 adults in America live with a serious mental illness.
Jillian Reeves began her entertainment career as an Actress in the Chicago theater scene. It was also there she got her first taste of directing in the local theater. Since moving to Los Angeles to continue her acting career she has graced the screen as the Lead in TVOne’s Media, recurring roles on Young and the Restless and CSI:Miami, guest spots on top shows including Grey’s Anatomy, Masters of Sex, Game of Silence and dozens of national commercials. In addition to acting, Jillian regularly coaches actors for auditions & self-tapes, has co-directed an award-winning short she wrote “Hope Reigns” and is a passionate advocate for being a voice of the underserved in our community.
Jillian found that these activities served her well as she made her directing debut with the short film Broken, which she penned to highlight the barriers families face in getting help for loved ones with untreated mental illness. She was able to create a visually moving story, draw amazing performances from the actors and create a sense of community on set for the cast and crew. In directing she found the space where she could truly utilize her multitude of skills and found a career match made in heaven. After spending over a decade as a performer she is now shifting much of her focus to directing and creating content.
Urban Film Festival - United States - 2020
Best Mental Health Short (Film)