ELECTRIC MALADY

a Marie Liden & Aconite Production (SC), Agent Double (BE) project (90’/52’) – December 2018

 

SYNOPSIS & SUBJECT

 

This is a story dedicated to those suffering from an illness steeped in controversy: electrosensitivity. In Sweden, living in confinement and under a radiation-shielding blanket for the past six years in an isolated forest cabin, William sees his health badly deteriorating. DELETE this >and looses his will to live. In Canada, Tyler, twelve, although enjoying Netflix and gaming on the internet, lives in a wifi and cellphone free environment. The government grants him a home education to keep Tyler away from the wifi in the school that made him so sick.  DELETE the following as it is about William not Tyler> and his family helps him flush out metals from his organism, which are proved to amplify his electrosensitivity. Electrosensitivity is becoming one of the serious health concerns of the 21st century, with a potential impact within the judiciary and on social security if recognized as a disability as recent cases have been.

Few, if any films, have taken an independent view upon this issue, nor provided an experience which is effective, understandable and personally engaging. Director Marie Lidén grew up with a mother suffering from this then unknown illness – for a time, as a child, she started to believe her mother had turned into a vampire... Today, in a technologically advanced world, doctors still fail to diagnose and treat electrosensitivity. Using her own story as a thread, Marie explores William and Tyler’s isolated worlds and their families’ unrelenting commitment to help them.

 In 2006, William was a typical, energetic, socialized and dating happy 31 year old, until a hearing loop system was installed at his workplace at the library : he and three co-workers became severely affected by electrosensitivity. Eight years later, he is forced to isolate himself in a cottage set in a pine forest, an hour drive from his family home. When he was 7, Tyler had to be removed from school after wifi was installed in the premises. He is still able, through removing himself from wifi, to have an relatively ordinary life, although he misses hanging out with his friends at school.

There has always been mixed scientific opinion about the effects of electromagnetic fields upon humans and the natural world. While 3/4G and WiFi signals grow massively every year with increasing EMF-Electro magnetic fields amplify, and as evidence of their potential ill-effects keep building, the debate becomes ever more necessary. The WHO-World Health Organization, in 2004, estimated 3% of the world population to be EHS. Surveys conducted one year after, a decisive EMF proliferation year, came up with 10% … How about 2017 ? While granting a status of EHS-Electro hyper sensitivity to individuals as symptomatic, the WHO remains reluctant to link EHS to EMF, as seeing no scientific proof, or to even consider EHS as an actual medical diagnosis or a single medical problem.

 

TREATMENT

Unique to this subject matter and defying filmmaking are the physical limitations to filming electrosensitivity sufferers. Classic cinematic conventions will be applied with hand-cranked 16mm footage and sound recording with non-transmitting microphones which allow to create a distinctive ‘look’ while not causing William harm. The intimate style of the project is the result of cinematographer Michael Sherrington’s textured imagery along with composer John Lemke’s electronic soundscapes which together draw us deeply into the story.

Specialists interviews and contextualisation are minimal but key, most of the story revealed through live scenes, observing our characters’ conditions, circumstances and challenges. While the inherent drama surrounding our subjects’ situation can be scientific, the focus remains on the emotional and the personal. The intention will be not only to plumb the depths of this illness but also the mystery of human nature in relation to pain and isolation. To paint a nuanced portrait of a complex and compelling situation while exploring more wide-ranging questions about our society and this invisible illness. 

The 52 min. version will (this word doesn’t make sense : priviledge – should the word be prioritise ?) information over cinematic rhythm, on a current affair angle. However, the quality filmaking will enhance the more classic narrative of this TV hour.

The projects involves a CROSSMEDIA project« Invisible Fields » an interactive online experience of the presence of electromagnetic fields in our daily lives. It features a personalised electrosensitivity and radiation test, as well as generative artwork and a webdocs series. The Test offers the user a unique opportunity to not only measure but to see, hear and interact with their very own electro-magnetic fields; generated by their location, wifi networks and devices. The project will be browser based, accessible upon: computers, tablets, or smart phones.

 

PRODUCTION TEAM

Director / Marie Liden is A Swedish born animator and filmmaker based in Glasgow. After graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in 2011 with a degree in animation, Marie is now focused on documentaries, animations and sound design. In the past 3 years, she has built a strong portfolio, working on over 10 independent and broadcast commissions – ranging from a BAFTA nominated animation, a Channel 4 First Cut documentary, to editing ‘Barefoot in Business’, a documentary commissioned by Al-Jazeera English.

Production house / Aconite Productions, Producer Aimara Reques is an award-winning Producer with over 20 years experience in the film industry in the UK. She is a winner of two BAFTA Scotland Awards, a Fox Searchlight Award; an Amnesty International Media Award and has produced work for Channel 4; BBC; Scottish Television and Border Television. She is also developing three other international co- productions to include “AQUARELA” by renowned Russian director Victor Kossakovsky.  

Producer Bart Simpson, the canadian multi-award winning producer, best known for his work on The Corporation (2003) and Big Boys Gone Bananas!* (2011) has joined the project. 

 

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