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Exploring voice hearing through film

Steven Fraser
01 October 2019

'What It Feels Like' is a short film that looks at a form of auditory hallucination known as voice hearing.

Voice hearing.jpg

'What It Feels Like' is a short film that looks at a form of auditory hallucination known as voice hearing.

'What It Feels Like'

With the film I wanted to show viewers that hearing voices is a common occurrence and is experienced by many people. When people who hear voices are represented in media such as film and television, the focus tends to be on the extreme aspect of voice hearing and we are likely to see people suffering from intense and severe psychosis. In reality this is not the case and most people live their day to day lives whilst experiencing voice hearing.

Voice hearing is something I personally experience in times of stress. On occasion this can be intrusive, but I have discovered and developed techniques of self care in order to understand and deal with the intrusion. With 'What It Feels Like' I wanted to show that voice hearing can be managed through help and support. 

I also made the film to greater understand to my own relationship to voice hearing. With the film I interviewed different people, who all have had a variety of experiences with voice hearing. From listening to different perspectives, I considered ways in which I can receive help and assistance and this was a massive personal benefit to me. 

Using animation

I have always been interested in filmmaking and animation. I like to draw and find the process of creating images very therapeutic and relaxing. I think this in particular makes me suited to animation. With 'What It Feels Like' I wanted to tell a story that can be heard as well as seen, so I was inspired to create a short film where sound and animation are an essential factor in telling the story.

Within the film I use animation and a take a DIY approach; I used my mobile phone to record the short film and employed an atypical style of animation. 'What It Feels Like' has been inventively created using special boxes that present animation in a unique style similar to a flipbook. Inside each individual box is a spindle. Attached to this spindle are 24 little cards. A motor turns the spindle and the animation can be seen as the cards turn. A sequence of images is drawn on each card and when the cards move they present a 24 frame animation cycle.

I used this animation technique to represent the voices that people hear and filmed the boxes on my phone. This creates a distinctive visual style and one which I believe suited the story.

Oska Bright Film Festival

I entered 'What It Feels Like' to the Oska Bright Film Festival as I knew it was an excellent film festival that screened important and compelling films. I had seen a selection of films from Oska Bright Film Festival at the Glasgow Short Film Festival and was amazed and delighted by the variety of films at the screening. I also knew that Oska Bright Film Festival screened quality films from people with different backgrounds and also values inclusion and LGBT filmmakers.

When I completed 'What It Feels Like' Oska Bright Film Festival was top of my list of film festivals to send it to. It is a total honour to have 'What It Feels Like' at Oska Bright Film Festival.

Hopefully I will have more films screened at the festival in the future. 



Watch the trailer for Oska Bright Film Festival 2019 here:

'What It Feels Like' is being shown as part of the 'It Me' session during the launch night of the Oska Bright Film Festival 2019.

Funded by the BFI and Arts Council England, Oska Film Festival is 23rd-26th October at The Old Market, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 1AS

See here for the full programme and tickets.

All films are BSL interpreted, audio described and subtitled, and audiences can come and go as they please.

Oska Bright Film Festival is programmed, managed, and presented by people with learning disabilities and autism.