My Happy, a short film shot in Cape Town by film-maker An Wentzel, is based on an adapted true story given to her by lead actor Earl Hendricks.
The 12-minute film follows the story of Joshua, played by Hendricks, who suffers abuse as a child and is plagued by depression that surfaces once that person re-enters his life as an adult. A key scene sees a powerful soliloquy delivered into the camera breaking the fourth wall to give the viewer an emotional insight into the mind of a depressive.
“There are three issues, which are the mental, family and child abuse. Family needs to push the boundaries and not take no for an answer.
“There’s also an element of child abuse, which contributes to the mental state years later. Children have no real voice and parents often don’t listen to them,” said Wentzel.
The film is her first venture into a creative pursuit after working as a broadcast and print journalist as well as making documentaries. Her main goal is to change minds and give the viewer a greater sense of what these issues encompass.
“I had to build the characters up from scratch and it was important for me that we had diversity. I had a budget of R35000 and I was adamant that everyone be paid."
Along with Hendricks the cast includes Terri Lane, Megan Scholtz, Leagan Phillips-Laws and Tia Black.
Wentzel has entered her film into the short narrative category at the Cannes Film Festival where she hopes it will be screened in May.
The film has also been entered into the Edinburgh International Film Festival.