A conversation with independent filmmakers Jules Bruff and Alethea Root on their narrative feature, “Part Time Fabulous”:
nthWORD: Your website mentions the World Health Organization’s projection of depression reaching second place in the ranking of “Global Burden of Disease/Leading Cause of Disability Worldwide” by 2020. One of the early taglines for the film was, “Exposing the truth about her dirty little secret.” Can you talk about this choice of language when referring to clinical depression?
JB: I can’t remember who came up with “dirty little secret,” me or Alethea, but it’s something that has been in the dark and people have been ashamed of having it, or of a family member having it.
AR: We actually toiled with “the dirty little secret” because our whole point of making this film was to take away that it’s dirty, or to take away that it’s a secret, but that is what we were coming up against: that nobody wants to talk about depression, so it is a dirty little secret. Our hope is to change that perception and start a conversation where people can talk about it and not be afraid or ashamed.
nthWORD: How did words like disease and disability impact your making of the film? This secret implies shame, it implies guilt, it implies stigma. Can you talk about that?
JB: There’s so much stigma around clinical depression—and mental illness in general—but our focus is clinical depression, and it seems like people who have it are embarrassed that they have it, and they don’t feel comfortable saying that it’s a disease and a disability. I think a lot of people who have it think it’s their fault.
(Note: nthWord is no longer published.)