For something on the lighter side (there are a few, I promise!) check out Carley Kormanis’s The Colorful Mind of Jayce Dean Parker.
To me, this was a sweet little movie that reminded me of the premise of a fun teen eighties genre film (I mean that in the best possible way). An artistic but reclusive and self-doubting high school boy, Jayce, draws a portrait of a woman who comes to life to help him with his confidence. See what I mean? Unlike a lot of those movies though, it’s devoid of any goofball humor or sexual over- and undertones. It’s simply about Jayce’s state of mind and how he thinks of himself.
I related a lot to the way Jayce saw himself—as someone nobody wanted to befriend, even though his anxiety kept him closed off and oblivious to the people trying to reach out to him and get to know him. “J.D.”–the alternate, vivacious alter ego who leapt off the page—helps him see that his classmates wanted to get to know him all along, but he would bury himself in a sketch and ignore them.
I love showing that there are many different facets to mental health. There is psychosis and suicide and institutionalization. But there is also social anxiety and self-doubt and self-isolation. I don’t like to necessarily say one topic is more important or pressing than another. Those issues are prevalent in adolescence when we’re still finding our footing and identity, and they can easily escalate if they are not addressed. Also, everyone’s mental health issues are important and can feel devastating to them, and I feel like it’s unfair to compare them and rate them on different levels of pain.
The Colorful Mind of Jayce Dean Parker plays in Shorts Block No. 3 of the virtual festival until November 6th. This is a lighter movie about a more common mental health experience that has a hopeful resolution, and that’s important.