I Send You This Place

2013
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.
World Premiere 2012 FULL FRAME DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL. 

Stream the full film here
Or please personally request a free link, write her here — andreasissonal@gmail.com
For the soundtrack

 
 

 

 

Early works 2010-2012, Hindsight & Artist Disclaimer
 (on whiteness)

Throughout the beginning of the film there is language about “blue eyes.” I was unaware at the time, in 2010 at the age of 23, to the discussion of eye color as a topic of race and a racial signifier - and eye color as a possible signifier of supremacy and desire. In the time of creation, my use of the eyes and their color were used in relation to the manic "crazy eye" that can occur during psychosis, and in relation to my mentally ill sibling with the same family eye-color, the eyes we share (and might potentially share or in fear share, during psychosis). The eye as an object - was the purpose. This ultimately exposes, the white knowledge paradigm at the time of making of the subject/artists/film.. Many years later, the possible implications triggers of "blue eyes" and its context within the whole spectrum of American culture is now very much recognized by the makers.