As humans we are born with five basic emotions, thus suffer from them. Happiness, anger, disgust, fear and sadness.
Depression is a word used too commonly and yet, so misunderstood by people. Being someone who chronically suffers from said illness, I know what it means to feel true loneliness and sorrow.
If someone were to ask me today to give an explanation of depression and how truly overwhelming it can be I would steer them towards the short film Crestfallen, written/produced by Russell Penning and directed by Jeremiah Kipp (The Sadist, Satan Hates you & I Sell the Dead).
Within the 6 minutes and 5 seconds of watching Crestfallen, I felt like someone out there really understood what my minds-eye deals with on a daily basis.
Without dialogue, and featuring a score by Harry Manfredin famed by his musical success in Friday the 13th, Crestfallen is an excellent depiction of a woman suffering through depression and her ability or inability to deal with the ailment. Actress Deneen Melody came across as exceptionally open, and willing to give her all without disclosure to aid in this fine piece of cinematic craftsmanship.
Honestly, having viewed Crestfallen several times I searched for something negative to say. Why? Simply because I could not find anything.
From beginning to end this feature is relatable to everybody. Though it circles around Deneen Melody‘s character and her extreme emptiness over the loss of her core family, Crestfallen is put together in such a way that anyone can understand and learn from. Be it what a family member or friend is going through, or to find comfort in seeing another human emoting what so many of us can not, or dare not put into words.
Through the use of strong direction, unique camera angles, kaleidoscope like confusion, music, strong acting and and juxtaposition between the dry cold and liquid warmth. There is a comforting quality about Crestfallen and I strongly urge those reading to take the time out of their day to watch it and think about its relation to your own life or that of loved ones.
Luckily, I had the opportunity to ask director Jeremiah Kipp a few questions about Crestfallen and he graciously responded with his own point of view on the topic:
Understandably the subject in Crestfallen is about mental illness, how did you come to create something so meaningful and relatable to women? What made you take that route?
-Our writer/producer Russell Penning had a script that was incredibly personal, based on some experiences he actually went through. Together, we decided to change the gender of the main character (played by Deneen Melody) as a way to distance the material from Russ a little and perhaps get a different perspective. While I hope the film is meaningful and relatable to women, I hope it’s accessible to anyone who has harbored thoughts of taking their own life. The reasons for suicide are intensely personal. Russ was coming from a place of hope, and I think what was most meaningful to him was to make the movie as a way of expressing his sincere belief in our better nature, in our dreams for our children, and perhaps remembering that our lives are a mix of the bad and also the good.
Crestfallen is a very moving short, what statement are you trying to convey to your audience through this film?
-At the end of the day, the movie belongs to the audience. It no longer belongs to me or Russ. We did choose to end on the image of a baby’s hand wrapping itself around its mother’s hand, which we hope is an affirmation of life. We hope to communicate that all lives are precious.
What does the completion of Crestfallen mean to you? How did you feel when you first watched the final product?
-We had many wonderful collaborators on this film, and I greatly enjoyed working with our team out in Bloomington, Indiana. The film would not have been possible without the support of Marv Blauvelt and Muscle Wolf Productions, Arthur Cullipher at Clockwerk Pictures, Chris Jay and Kitsie Duncan at Dark Rider Productions, Jason Hignite and others. When I look at the film, I see the collective efforts of a group of talented people. It was also a singular joy working with our composer Harry Manfredini on the score. Watching one’s own movie is like reading the diary of your experience in pre-production, shooting and post. You can’t be objective. That said, I am very proud of the film, and honored by the audience response we have received thus far. We’re screening in Montreal Horrorfest later this year, alongside fellow filmmakers Patrick Rea, Alan Rowe Kelly and Bart Mastronardi. In the world of independent filmmaking, it’s an honor to be screened alongside your peers and heroes.
My conclusion? Crestfallen is more than a must watch. It is a learning experience and demands attention.
Take the time out of your routine right now, use your next 6 minutes and 5 seconds to view this very brave short.