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Synopsis: When a driven college student diagnosed as clinically high-risk for schizophrenia begins seeing a dark figure stalking her, she will have to find a way to prove he’s real despite the pity and mistrust of the people closest to her, or risk losing her grasp on reality for good.

Language

English

Run Time

22 minutes

Starring

Ashton Solecki (Lyssa)
Seth Brubaker (Man in Black)
Ibrahim El Helw (Dr. Q.)
Samina Engel (Mom)
John Wilcox (Dad)

Directed by

Dilara Senbilgin

Written by

Asligul Armagan

Produced by

Amina Nada

Edited by

Kristin Valentine

Cinematographer

András Roder

Director's Statement

I wanted to direct this film because it’s important to represent a mental disorder through a personal and realistic story. People with mental disorders face stigmatization and they are often misrepresented in the media. Schizophrenia is maybe the one mental illness that people know the least about because it’s been misrepresented in the media for so long. Through this story, we hope to create a discussion around the idea of self-doubt, otherness and self-acceptance.
While watching this film, I want the viewers to experience life from the point of view of a person with a mental disorder. Feel how hard it’s to make people see beyond the disorder. The alienation they face whenever their “reality” doesn’t match with the rest of the society.
This is a special project and story for me because I always try to make films that are based on deep social problems without hitting people over the head to prove a point. What I mainly want to do is tell a personal story that will stimulate conversations between the audience and make them think about the self-doubt living with a serious mental illness can cause on people. Make them feel trapped like they never did before. I have several people in my life who have suffered from different kinds of mental disorders and I believe that authentic and realistic representation is truly important to see the person behind the mental disorder.

Director's Bio

Dilara Senbilgin is a Los Angeles based director, writer and producer. Born in Manisa, Turkey, she graduated from Istanbul Bilgi University with a double major in Media & Communication and Psychology. After attending a 2-year Directing program at UCLA, she wrote, directed and edited her thesis project Kept (2018), a narrative short film that explored themes such as feminism, rape and abortion. Kept has been shown at over 10 film festivals across the world and won awards such as Best Screenplay, Women Filmmakers and Best Supporting Actress. Most recently, Dilara worked as an Associate Producer on Academy Award winner Bryan Fogel’s political documentary The Dissident, which tackles the subject of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The film had its world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Lyssa, her 2nd short film, made its world premiere at Imagine This International Women’s Film Festival which is based in Brooklyn, NY.

Production Year

2021

Official Website

Instagram

@lyssashortfilm

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