BLOCK-D, 11min., USA, Drama
Directed by Jason Farrand
BLOCK-D tells the parallel stories of two teen students, Ramone and Annabelle, each fighting against their physical manifestations of depression. Ramone fights a dark and imposing “THING” that only he is aware of, while Annabelle struggles with a THING of her own – a girl, unseen by others, who mocks her constantly and won’t leave her alone.
With the goal of creating, writing and producing an original short film myself and a group of fellow industry professionals joined forces with teenagers from St. Mary’s High School in Inglewood and Cathedral High School in downtown Los Angeles . The resulting short film was completed in march 2022 and is entitled BLOCK -D.
The film’s subject matter was born from open brainstorming sessions with the teens themselves. Teenage depression, often misdiagnosed or completely ignored, was a subject every student understood and could relate to, either indirectly or through their own unique experiences. Our collective goal was to tell a personal story from the teen perspective. After discussions with psychological experts from the UCLA Division of Population Behavioral Health, our team created the powerful original script: BLOCK-D.
Beyond being trainee writers, each student involved played a major role on set to realize the film – as trainee directors, production designers, camera team, producers, and every other essential crew position.
The stigma and humiliation attached to teenage depression makes it a very difficult conversation to start. So we set out to make a film that first acknowledges that teenage depression is very REAL, and secondly to encourage an environment where talking about it is both welcomed and completely ok. With clinical teenage depression sharply on the rise and the inevitable struggles that the pandemic has thrust upon them, teens and youths need all our support more than ever.
Our wish is to let teens suffering from depression know that they are not alone and that there is no shame in mental illness. By sharing BLOCK-D and being welcoming of similar personal stories our desire is to inspire conversation, compassion and hope.