I came across the film project “Faulty Roots” on Twitter. The Indiegogo fundraising link popped up on my feed. They must have read my mind. Twitter somehow knew I am an absolute sucker for people trying to raise money for good causes. I also find it hard to resist a passion project— and this is one project that, while not my own, is centered around a topic very near and dear to me.
Do you live with depression? Chances are, you either do, or know someone close to you who does. About a quarter of the population with face some sort of mental health issues in their lifetime.
Depression in teens is a crisis. You could call it an epidemic. As of June 2018, suicide was the second largest cause of death of young people ages 15-24.Why is that?If you have to ask that, do you even remember being a teen? You are constantly plagued with self doubt, criticism from your peers, raging hormones, and are trying to find your place in the world.
I had the chance to speak with Ella, a young British actor and filmmaker about her film, “Faulty Roots,” which explores teen depression.
First of all, tell me a little about yourself.
I’m an 18-year-old actor and producer from London. I’ve worked as an actor for many years but I am only just working on producing my first project, which is the short film Faulty Roots. Faulty roots is a story of friendship, dreams and depression. Mental health problems are common in teens today and so I wanted to share a story that may help raise awareness of this and the issues that come with them.
What inspired you to make a film about depression in teens?I decided to make the film as I think that there is still so much more that can be done to raise awareness for mental health. There are so many teens who suffer from a mental illness and yet a large proportion of them may not seek help or even talk about it. I want my film to say that it’s okay and to help people to understand what suffering from depression can be like.
Tell me what the film is about.The film follows Lola, a teen who has depression, and how she is forced to form a friendship with a guy named Zack. The brilliant young actor, Sani Thabo, will be playing the role of Zack. I first saw Sani give an excellent performance in the short film ‘Third Wheeling’. He brought the same comedic talent and light heartedness to his audition for the role and I know that he will do an amazing job bringing Zack to life. Both Lola and Zack each have different genetic conditions and the film is about the relationship built and the struggles that they face. Another key character is that of Susan, Lola’s mother. The wonderful actress Sarah Eastwood will be playing the role of Susan. I first worked with Sarah on the film ‘In Front of You’ where she played my on-screen mum. We immediately connected and I was in awe of her talent as well as her complete passion and kindness. Susan is an important role as I want to demonstrate in the film how a mental illness can affect the relationship between a teen and their parent.
Have you always wanted to be a film maker?I knew that I always wanted to be involved with films but I never knew exactly how. I’ve loved acting for a long time and that’s always been my main focus, but I wanted to be an Art Director before, then a writer, now a producer, I just love filmmaking! There are so many different jobs available in the industry and you’ll often find that people have experience in multiple different roles which makes it so exciting and interesting.What is something you wish people knew about depression?
I wish people knew that it can just come out of nowhere. You can struggle at a random time even if you haven’t felt bad in a while or if you’re on holiday or if you’re succeeding at work, or anything that seems like you should be enjoying, because you don’t have a choice. It can be quite hard sometimes to notice when other people are struggling and so it’s important to show compassion to as many people as possible.
What is something you wish people knew about teens?Teens are under so much pressure. It’s a time when you’re feeling so vulnerable about the way you look, you’re experiencing so many new things, your emotions can be wild and there’s a lot of emphasis on making decisions that can supposedly affect the rest of your life. Stress and anxiety affect so many teens because of the pressure placed upon them.
What is your favorite part of the film making process?I genuinely enjoy every single part. I love starting to develop a new idea, getting other people involved with the project and then getting to work with them, as well as meeting new people who believe in your project. Getting to see what has been made, and what you’ve worked on is an incredible feeling.
What is the biggest challenge?The biggest challenge is getting it to come together without too many sacrifices or unwanted changes. There will be times when you have to cut something or settle for something else and there will be times when things are forgotten about during the process so it’s just making sure that you do the piece justice.
Do you have any other projects in the works?Yes I do, I’ve got a few films and other projects currently in post production as well as some voiceover projects in the works. I’m also really hoping that Faulty Roots turns out well as I’d love to work as a producer on more projects in the future. There are so many important stories that I would love to help get told.
What is your favorite film?I have so many, I love indies, horrors, classics, animations, all of them! Some of my favourites include Me, Earl & the dying girl, Hush, Inside Out and Eighth Grade.
Any last pieces of advice for my readers?I’d say to never be afraid of reaching out to people. I’m happy to be messaged whether it’s about filmmaking or just anything. Connecting with others is so important!
I’m a British actress born and raised in London, England. Having joined youth theatres and productions from a young age, I trained in both stage and screen. I made my screen debut as lead character Lina in New York Director Adam Llamas’ horror ‘In Front of You’ and my stage debut at local theatres as well as the West End. I trained with the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. I’m also a voice-over actor, having narrated books for Audible/Amazon and having voiced a key character in a new American series. I have recently been called a ‘Rising Young Acting Talent’ by David Duprey of That Moment In and ‘one of those “up-and-comers” to watch circumspectly’ by Entertainment Writer Ruth Hill.
Keep up with the film:
IMDB Page: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10551374
It would mean so much if you could check out the campaign:
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