IT’S NOTHING is directed by Anna Maguire (Your Mother and I, TIFF ‘17), and stars Cara Gee (Amazon’s The Expanse), Emily Piggford ( CBC’s Waragami), and Niamh Wilson (Big Little Giants, TIFF’18). It will premier at TIFF and then screen at the Atlantic International Film Festival right after.
The film’s uniqueness lies in its internal exploration of eating disorders. Anorexia is represented by a hole the protagonist spends her time digging in secret. She goes about her life covered in dirt. People don’t know how to address it or, more often, pretend not to see it at all.
Anna Maguire’s thoughts on why a film on why she made a film on such a unfortunately largely still not talked about subject and working with screenwriter Julia Lederer:
“It’s Nothing is a project that came to me in 2014 through a friend who thought that Julia Lederer, the writer of the film and I would get on creatively. She had originally written it as a play for young adults; about a young woman digging a hole under the influence of an impossibly perfect girl, which stood in as a metaphor for anorexia, something that she had experienced herself and wanted to talk about in a new light, which I found both brave and generous.
I am a huge believer in talking about our mental and physical health, we as a society often blanket, especially mental health, under a mantle of shame. I wanted to be part of telling this story with her, and bring my own ability to delve into the character’s psyche to the table. We set about developing the script, and eventually got funding from both the Canadian and Ontario Arts Councils to make what at this point was quite an ambitious short film involving night shoots and ten foot by six foot holes in public parks! This was the first film I directed that I didn’t write, and it was a really rewarding collaboration. I would like to do it again! Julia and I are discussing our next projects…”
Screenwriter Julia Lederer says:
“Why I chose to portray an eating disorder in this specific way, how I have tried to explain the distorted and complicated logic of an eating disorder, but with this film am able to share the feelings of that experience. This is, to me, the most powerful aspect of making art.
Taking internal landscape that’s hard to understand and externalizing it in the form of something generally recognizable: digging a hole.
The immense discomfort and power that comes from seeing a metaphor representing my most concealed feelings be made tangible by team of relative strangers.
How working on a set of mainly women to make this film was a unique and meaningful experience that lead to a deep and fearless exploration of the material.
The struggle of being truly vulnerable as an artist: I’m proud to share IT’S NOTHING, and yet it’s about a personal experience there is still a great deal of shame around. What will likely be my most widely-seen piece of work to date is about a subject I often seek to avoid. People say that all good films need conflict. I have taken this to the next level: I’m in conflict with my own film.
My hope that this film and its unique perspective will challenge the general conception of eating disorders and generate new conversations about mental health.”