I Send You This Place

Hybrid-Documentary Essay Feature-Length Film
Made possible by the U.S. Fulbright Foundation (with Sisson as a fellow)

New York Times Review

The feature-length hybrid-documentary blends fiction and non-fiction to tell the story of a young woman whose encounter with the intense natural beauty of Iceland inspires her to examine her comfortable notions of sanity and insanity and to explore mental illness and family bonds through Iceland’s otherworldly terrain. It questions this by simply asking “Can something as natural as the weather be deemed mentally ill?” The island’s intensity reminds Andrea of her schizophrenic brother Jacob, a young man who isn’t bound by the conventional standards. “Delusional” thought and “erratic” behavior seem not so different from Andrea’s untamed surroundings in which the wind rants, the clouds are grandiose and the seasons bi-polar. Part memoir, travelogue, and personal essay, the film tells the story of a wanderlust that sparks an unexpected spiritual transformation - in a place where glaciers are more common than billboards, where inhabitants are known to speak to mountains, where summers bring twenty- four hours of daylight, and winters bring twenty-four hours of darkness. Andrea’s breakthroughs lead her to embrace her own eccentricities, namely, her ADD diagnosis which she comes to view as a gift, not a curse. Led by Pete’s probing questions, Andrea arrives at fresh and startling insights and through the personal tool of documentation presents the island itself as a new model for the study mental health. 

The piece explores the perception of mental illness and is a family member's account (Sisson) of the trauma, the sensations, and decoding the stages associated with the issues and situations of mental illness. The film compares outdoor nature of Iceland to the nature of the human being – specifically the mind affected by schizophrenia and other serious mental illness. The artist proposes, theorize, and slightly debates diagnosis and American cultural perspective on these illnesses. Performance uses found objects and places, costume, and symbols - both the artist creating her self-portrait; and the documentarian creating the portrait of his subject.

Story, performance, & direction by Andrea Sisson; Music performed and recorded by Andrea Sisson & Pete Ohs.

Please find a link to stream the full film online here - https://www.seedandspark.com/watch/i-send-you-this-place
Or to request a link from the artist please contact andreasissonal@gmail.com




Early works 2010-2012, Hindsight & Artist Disclaimer:

 (on whiteness):
Throughout the beginning of the film, there is a discussion of eye color that ultimately shows an ignorance to the subject artists' own racial position, and unawareness to the discussion of eye color as a topic of race and a racial signifier - in context to eye color as a possible signifier of supremacy and desire. This ultimately exposes the unawareness of the subject/artists/film's whiteness in context of a whole American culture. In the time of creation, the artists’ use of the eyes and their color were used in relation to the manic "crazy eye" that happens during psychotic breaks, and in relation to the artist's mentally ill sibling with the same family eye-color. The eye as an object and the enhancement/quality of the eyes during mania - was the purpose. Many years later, the possible implications and possible triggers of "blue eyes" in a work and its context within the whole spectrum of American culture and with racal politics is now every much recognized by the makers.