Synopsis: “Why do I judge myself, when the whole world is already doing it?” Was the line in ‘#Speil’ (‘Mirror’), a song performed by Norwegian rap artist Michael Kildal, which went straight to the heart of child psychiatrist Melanie Ekholdt. Fascinated by his artistic expression and energy, she invited him to a series of candid video-documented conversations between the two. The short documentary film ‘In Love with Craziness’ is based on these conversations, incorporating Kildal’s music videos and personal photo albums.
Kildal’s story provides us with a personal insight into how the ADHD diagnosis can affect a young person’s life and how it’s experienced first hand. We explore how a young man, through his creativity and music, transforms his personal suffering and struggles with the system, into new possibilities and hope. In the style of an intimate audio-visual diary, we join him on his turbulent youth-journey and are reminded of the importance of simply listening to these young people. The ability to transform resides in every human and we are all in continuous motion, even after adolescence.
As a child and adolescent psychiatrist I was instantly intrigued by Michaels insightful lyrics and powerful performance when I first saw him on the TV show ‘Norway’s got Talent’. I was very interested in learning more about how his problems growing up with ADHD had formed him and influenced his music. One particular line in his lyrics stood out to me: “Why do I judge myself, when everybody else is already doing it?” Through his lyrics and music, Michael gives us a personal insight into his subjective world, helping us to recognize the value of learning about other young peoples stories and narratives.
In the beginning my journey was more of the classical doctor/young patient relationship. But during the course of our conversations, which I had recorded for the purpose of writing a book about young boys in our modern society, I began to question my own medical practice around how I issue pharmaceutical prescriptions to young people. While listening to his stories I felt like my professional identity was collapsing, as everything I’d felt sure of was being challenged. The relationship gradually evolved to become more symmetrical, where there was no longer a hierarchical divide between patient and doctor, young man and middle-aged woman. We all have both masculine and feminine aspects as we are all made up of different parts; we can be young, adult and a child, constantly interchanging, sometimes at a very fast pace. By accepting our own vulnerabilities, it may lead us to better understand young people’s points of view and more clearly see their talents and possibilities they each hold within.
Looking back at what I’d recorded, I recognized that Michael is a powerful storyteller and a very good co-teacher. I engaged documentary producer Karina Astrup to support and guide me in the process of creating a short film using the footage, as I’m not traditionally a film director. We were fortunate to have full access to all of Michael’s music, music videos and childhood photos in order to give rich illustration to his journey. We agreed to use a young male editor, Sahil Singh, who was in his late teens, in an effort to keep the point of view from a young person’s perspective. It was very much a group collaboration to bring this story to life.
Melanie Ekholdt is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, with a strong interest in using film, art and culture for emotionally engaged participation and professional discourse, which includes young people as part of the conversation. After producing some successful YouTube clips and interviews, she was excited by the possibilities that opened up to her through the use of multimedia and digital storytelling in teaching and sharing with parents, colleagues and the wider community.
‘In Love with Craziness’ (aka ‘Forelska i Galskap’), will be her first documentary production in collaboration with House of Gary. Through this short documentary, which will accompany a book she is currently co-writing with the films subject Michael Kildal, she is wanting to contribute to a global conversation around how society can better understand the differ- ent expressions of boys and young men, and how the arts can be a powerful therapeutic tool.