Agony

An intimate, psychologically immersive body horror about an isolated young woman suffering from severe hypochondria.

Director’s Vision

My life partner, Tannis, is also my frequent creative partner. We’ve collaborated on a number of projects that address personal struggles with mental health. Casting her in the lead role felt like a no brainer. She brought intuitive naturalism and creativity to the process. We lived with the film for a couple of months – drafting monologues, shooting improvised scenes together and calling in favours from our friends. Working in this all-encompassing, unstructured way allowed us to really dig into the character and experiment with the form of the film.

It was important for us to show how quickly and ferociously a manic episode, triggered by the memory of trauma, can take hold. In our film, we try to visualise the young woman’s disruptive thought patterns. Her unfiltered stream of consciousness, fuelled by intense hallucinations and delusions, breaks apart the structure of the narrative. She becomes so immersed in her manic episodes that time seems to skip around her and the surety of reality begins to crack.

Characterising the city around her was equally important in making the film. I wanted London to feel oppressive, almost threatening, and cruelly isolating on screen. Feeling completely alone in this city, surrounded by millions of people, can be a deeply distressing and depersonalising experience. Visualising and interweaving her two worlds, interior and exterior, allowed us to manifest her psychotic break on screen.