"A Funny Film About Depression"

A Latvian-American filmmaker seeks to fund an animated film about mental illness

Posted Feb 07, 2013

movie still

A still image from "Rocks in My Pockets"

Signe Baumane is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker whose animated shorts have appeared in festivals like Sundance and Berlinale.

Over the last several years, Baumane has been at work on a 90-minute feature film called "Rocks in My Pockets," which she describes as "a funny film about depression."

Baumane and her small team hand-crafted 129,600 frames using three-dimensional papier-mache sets and two-dimensional character drawings moving within them.

The film deals with "true events involving the women of my family (including myself) and their surrender to madness," writes Baumane. "The film is packed with visual metaphors, surreal images and my twisted sense of humor."

She continues: "I am making this film because I find the fragility of our minds fascinating. Life is strange, unpredictable and I see the humor in it all. Yes, I almost broke down, but I came back to tell my story. I hope you'll laugh with me."

The animation is finished, but the film still needs coloration, music, and sound. To raise the funds needed, Baumane has launched a "Rocks in My Pockets" Kickstarter campaign. With eight days to go, the project needs just under $6,000 to reach its $42,800 goal.

I can't vouch for the whole film, but I'm intrigued by what I've seen so far, and impressed by the hard work that has already taken place.

If the idea of a funny film about depression, women, and Latvian history intrigues you too, the "Rocks in My Pockets" Kickstarter page has more images, description, and a brief trailer.

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Katherine Sharpe is the author of the book Coming of Age on Zoloft: How Antidepressants Cheered Us Up, Let Us Down, and Changed Who We Are (Harper Perennial, 2012). Follow her on Twitter at @katherinesharpe, check out her website, or join her book's Facebook page.

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