As someone who’s had my own struggles with breaches of trust in relationships, suicidal ideation, and psychiatric wards due to my own struggles with bipolar disorder, the short film Borrowed Light was a little painful for me to watch. Even harder, at times, was my interview with writer/producer/actress Jenapher Zheng. What she said about writing the film based on her own experience with bipolar disorder was so familiar and relatable. I know the fact that it hit home for me, though, meant it was genuine.
Another important thing to note about this film is its diversity–the filmmakers are proud of having an entirely female, Asian-American, LGBTQ, and non-binary team. Jenapher explained how mental illness is seen through a first-generation Chinese-American’s lens at times, such as how the character of the mother in the film is fixated on food. Yet another asset is the music, which has an uplifting indie-folk vibe. Jenapher explains it was actually composed by a friend for the film.
“Borrowed Light” is the name of a song about the friendship between the two main characters in the film. This friendship strains and struggles as they grow apart from each other physically, as one moves away for college, as well as mentally, as they both struggle with their mental illness and confiding in each other. Jenapher Zheng describes it as how “shame begets silence.” It’s ambiguous in the film whether this friendship will heal, but you get the feeling that both of them will begin healing their mental health.
Check out Borrowed Light in Shorts Block No. 3 in the virtual festival: https://watch.eventive.org/mentalfilmness2022/play/633f0a9d4714100092379789
Check out an interview with writer/actress/producer Jenapher Zheng in the Interviews section of the site here: https://mentalfilmness2022.eventive.org/eventive.org/mentalfilmness2022interviews