Synopsis: A first-generation Jamaican-American, high school student named Mars, is suffering from anorexia in silence and gets involved in a pro-anorexia group chat called “I Love Ana.” The group guides her to starve herself and get involved in self-destructive behaviors. Mars is a creative spirit with a passion for ballet and poetry but feels pressure from her parents, ballet instructor, and crush (Ziggy), to be perfect and relies on the group chat to make her that way; but will she lose herself in Ana’s control? Based on the true story of Director/Screenwriter: Alyssa G. Mullings.
Bryan Rodriguez (Ziggy (aka Goddess Ana))
Jermaine "ZBEK" Nelson (Gregory)
Petulia Blake (Cecile)
Kristin Pilgreen (Ballet Master)
Overcoming an eating disorder was one of the many hardships I had to face in my teen years. During this time in my life, I developed an unhealthy relationship with my body and dance. The lack of self-esteem and self-love led to joining a group chat I found online that promoted restrictive and destructive eating behaviors to its group members. In the group chat, group members nicknamed their eating disorders as “Ana and Mia”, in order to minimize the unsafe relationship they were forming with their anorexia or bulimia. After this chapter in my life ended, I decided to write and direct this story of mine, titled “I Love Ana,” to show people the severity an eating disorder can have over a person and their mentality. There is a lack of representation for women of color and men who struggle with body issues in film, and I wanted to share my story to show that anyone can deal with these issues and overcome them. My hope is that this film of mine serves as a catalyst for those struggling to accept and love their bodies, and to know that there is always a way out of suffering. As I always say, my art is my therapy, and I hope it can be that for others as well.
Alyssa Gabrielle Mullings is a first-generation Jamaican-American, twenty-year-old film director, screenwriter, and editor from New Jersey. Her passion for film began at five years old, when she picked up her first camcorder and began directing and acting out skits and self-made episodes with her family members. She has always been drawn to creativity and all forms of art, and began performing, dancing, writing, and painting at age three. Creative writing and poetry are what led her to fall in love with screenwriting, and as a child she would write scripts for fictional stories and would use her barbie dolls to act them out. When she was a young girl, she would also direct friends and family members to act and dance in order to make her artistic visions come to life. As she got older, she continued writing and making short films that focused on controversial social issues and spirituality. She has created over eleven short films and in these shorts she incorporates her talents in all art-forms. She has always had a fascination with film and television and knew she wanted to tell and portray many stories through these outlets. In Ms. Mullings’ most recent short film “I Love Ana,” she tells her personal story of her eating disorder that she overcame as a teenager. Writing and directing this film was a very emotional, vulnerable, yet empowering film for Ms. Mullings to create and she hopes her story touches the hearts of many who struggle with body and self esteem issues. She is currently a film-making student at Montclair State University, mastering the art and pursuing a BFA, and is determined to make this her career.
Best Shorts Competition - United States - 2020
Award of Recognition: African American (Student) (Alyssa G. Mullings, Director.)