Viv Fongenie (director)
Fruitcake Films (studio)
18 February 2013 (released)
19 February 2013
Ollie’s passion is astronomy. He works as a web designer. He has a woman he loves and a supportive best friend. Life is ticking along nicely, until the sudden death of his fiancée. What we witness next is a well executed, moving portrayal of a brain under siege by Edward Hogg as Ollie, rapidly slipping into a state of schizophrenia. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the film is bleak – it’s not. With sharp dialogue and darkly comic, you leave the cinema with a feeling of hope, along with the reminder of just how important true friendship is to each and every one of us.
Director/writer, Viv Fongenie, always knew it would be a challenge to get people to watch a film about schizophrenia. It isn’t sexy. It can be uncomfortable to watch. But schizophrenia and mental health are most definitely subjects in serious need of open discussion, instead of being shied away from.
For example, whilst chatting to Fongenie I admitted in a hushed tone of how I’ve lived the majority of my life with my own mental health issue – depression. Why on earth did I whisper my confession? I didn’t have to feel ashamed in front of him - along with filmmaking, Fongenie works as a mental health professional. Like many with any type of mental illness I did it out of pure habit, arisen from an ingrained fear of others’ prejudice. And this is because we still live in the ‘hush’ of mental health.
In my opinion, I think Ollie Kepler’s Expanding Purple World is one of those films that should be snapped up by one of the main television broadcasters and shown repeatedly to reach as broad an audience as possible - until the message has sunk in.
We’ve managed to bring both cancer and HIV out of the box of taboo topics and, if statistics are to be believed, with one in four of us experiencing some form of mental health problem in the course of a year, it really is time to change our way of thinking.