"Where do you go to escape... yourself?" This is the central question posed in Vanessa Rising, a short dramatic film shot in Madison over the course of a hot weekend back in July. Clinical depression and the subsequent tragedy of suicide are addressed in the story, in which the titular character is tempted to end her life over the course of a difficult morning. "It sends a message of hope to women and all people suffering from depression," declare the filmmakers.
Created under the banner of the locally-based Brickhouse Productions, the film was written and produced by Rebekah Voss, an actress from Milwaukee who also stars in the titular role. The director is e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, a Madison-based filmmaker and writer who hails originally from the Lone Star State. Her experiences growing up in south Texas inspired her work as a novelist, her first two books Prizefighter In Me Casa and Feels Like Home enjoying success in the realm of young adult fiction.
In the midst of her work on a third book, Charlton-Trujillo took some time over the summer to spend on filmmaking, including the directing of Vanessa Rising. The film is now in post-production, and will be submitted for screening at film festivals when completed. The producers subsequently hope to distribute it to educators and health professionals to serve as a tool in assisting patients and their families struggling with mental illness. A short teaser trailer for the film follows.
Vanessa Rising is slated to premiere in Madison on Wednesday, October 31.
Up first, though, is the Wisconsin Book Festival this weekend. Charlton-Trujillo will be speaking with another local author -- Kashmira Sheth -- in the panel "Crossing Boundaries in Young Adult Fiction" at 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 14 in A Room of One's Own Feminist Bookstore just off State Street. More details about Charlton-Trujillo's work can be found at her MySpace page and Isthmus YouTube group or send a message.