Schizophrenia shot by shot: A life challenge and the making of "Volga Volga"
Taskent, Aysegul Selenga
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Schizophrenia disables individuals and destroys families. It occurs with the frequency of one in a hundred people in all societies regardless of race, religion, gender, cultural, social, economic background and geographical area. It is probably the most 'unknown' and one of the most misunderstood, mistaken, and stigmatized mental illnesses. My film Volga Volga is an insight into the life of a schizophrenic patient and his family. It is a reflection on what it means to be touched, directly or indirectly, by an invisible illness, which cannot be healed by time and for this reason leaves deep, visible scars. The written component of my MFA thesis is a journey into the making of my film in the light of key concepts such as cinema verité, participatory and collaborative filmmaking. It is also a reflection on what it means to be, all at once, the filmmaker, editor, and producer, and the sibling of the schizophrenic patient whose life is being documented. Both my film and my written thesis aim at breaking the stigma attached to schizophrenia by showing the humanity of those who directly suffer from the illness and those who have to cope with an ill family member. It aims at raising sympathy and empathy for people who will never fully recover from their mental illness and yet would greatly improve their life conditions if they were fully accepted in society. The journey into the pain and sorrow of my family and of the schizophrenic patients of Ankara Solidarity Center For Schizophrenic Patients has been a difficult one, but the outcome is my contribution to break a stigma that worsens the life of millions.