The Girl that Lived : A short film about mental health set in Stevenage

By Viv Birch

Turkan Ahmet’s short powerful psychological drama THE GIRL THAT  LIVED was produced in association with the mental Health charity Mind in Mid Herts. The two leads are played by professional actors but the supporting cast was drawn from Stevenage’ s own local amateur dramatic group The Lytton Players.

The film focuses on a young woman who is struggling with mental health issues and addiction problems who finds herself living on the streets. The film was shot in Stevenage and has received praise from mental health professionals across Hertfordshire.

Director Turcan Ahmet gave a short interview about the film which appeared on the  Mind in Mid Herts website. She has kindly allowed a synopsis of it to be republished here. Turkan is 26 and was born in Stevenage and attended Barnwell school, She is currently working as a civil engineer.

Why I decided to make a film about mental health?

I read an article a couple of years ago about schizophrenia and it just stayed with me. There are so many stereotypes and preconceptions about mental health and 99 % of these preconceptions are misinformed. For example you can come from a respectable middle class family, and have never experienced violence or substance abuse, and suffer from mental health issues. I read lots of wonderful resources online while I was doing my research.

Why I chose to get in contact with the Mind mental Health charity

My initial desire when doing the film was to raise awareness of the local charities and local resources that are out there.This was to do with a close friend who was diagnosed with depression last year. I felt at a a complete loss when she was diagnosed and I didn’t know where to go to find support.

Background to the production company who helped make the film

The film was made by a local production company (Apex Studios) . It was filmed in Stevenage in September 2013. The main character and the narrator were professional actors, while the passers by and the mother were from the Stevenage based Lytton Players (where I previously used to go also). All actors had extensive experience and talent. I wanted the narrator to be as far removed from that of the main character as possible in order to remove any initial thought of a connection between them at the beginning of the film.

What I hope people take away from the film

I hope people enjoy the film and take something away from Holly’s life. It is open to a lot of interpretation, and I hope that people will be able to connect with aspects of it that are most relevant to them.

When the Comet and Jack fm ran the first article about me doing this film (in the Youtube video descriptions) I had so many people contacting me saying thanks for doing it, thanks for talking about mental health issues and raising awareness. i knew that mental health is still seen as “taboo”and does not get nearly as much coverage as it should, but I had no idea just how strongly the “stigma” is still affecting  people in this day an age. The heartfelt messages and stories made me open my eyes even more, and even though I cried when I read them, I couldn’t even begin to imagine how mental health affects not only the sufferer but also family and friends around them.I knew there was no going back when making this film. I felt that by getting as many people as possible to watch it we will be giving a teeny tiny bit back to all those who have suffered, either directly or indirectly.

Copyright Mind in Mid Herts, an affiliate of the national mental health charity Mind


This page was added on 08/06/2014.

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