“I’m feeling humbled and inspired by my multiple nominations. It was an initial surprise to find out about the nominations as I had not submitted my work for consideration. It just goes to show that the energy of intention and action is the very powerful. I’m not invisible after all.”

Director Simone King is elated and in high spirits as we interview her in the run up to the Screen Nation DigitaliS Awards. No wonder, Simone and her webseries Undiagnosed, has been nominated in three categories.

At Women Of The Lens Film Digital Broadcast Festival, we’re pleased to support productions screened in our Festival and Simon’s Undiagnosed is one such narrative of note. It also formed part of the Theme we investigated surrounding mental health and wellbeing. Simone begins to tell us about Undiagnosed.

“Undiagnosed is a thought provoking series based on real life events. The series questions our definition of mental health and ultimately reinforces the fact that we all have a mental health that needs to be maintained. Many are unbalanced and suffer from undiagnosed mental health issues. As a society it is important that we are mindful of our mental wellbeing and that of others.”

Simone elaborates;

“My childhood was greatly affected by the mental health of one of my family members. They had severe episodes of psychosis that almost took the life of another family member. Their psychotic episodes were severe and traumatic, yet they were never diagnosed with a mental health condition. They would make a speedy full recovery and no one would talk about it, yet proceed to live a normal life.”

“Mental health and being labelled ‘mad’ was seen as an embarrassment so we kept it all a secret. However, in 2015 we came extremely close to losing this family member after they experienced an episode. This episode to date was one of the worst, in the sense that they didn’t seem to be recovering. It was the first time I opened up to anyone outside of my family about what was going on. I was devastated and annoyed that most of our suffering had gone unnoticed all because of the stigma. I felt if things hadn’t been such a taboo that things would not have gone so far and that we could have had more support. I felt compelled to do something to raise awareness so created Undiagnosed Web Series.” 

Like so many independent productions, the burden of improvising falls in myriad ways. One is often wearing many production hats such as editor, line manager, actor or producer, to name a few. Simone’s production shared the same challenges.

“Directing and acting as well as doing shoot schedules, cooking on set for cast and crew and overseeing the entire production was extremely challenging. As an artist I would have liked to have spent more time developing my character and concentrating on the creative sides of things. It definitely took its toll on me but I pushed through and poured the emotions into my character. The whole process brought a lot up for me personally but also helped me to find closure. To be nominated (in Screen Nation DigitaliS) is still a pleasant surprise.”

So why does she believe that film festivals and awards ceremonies are so important for independent productions and filmmakers?

“Film festivals such as Women Of The Lens and award ceremonies such as Screen Nation are important for the culture of British film.”

“It provides a platform for people to showcase their work and also find out about the many other creators here in the UK. I want to take this opportunity to thank you Women Of The Lens for believing in my work and including Undiagnosed in your Festival. It means a lot to me.”

So what’s this multi-award nominee working on in the future?

“Undiagnosed Series 2 is in the making. I give credit to the Screen Nation nomination for inspiring me to do more and to continue on this creative path. Series 2 will be highlighting many social issues currently faced in modern society. I will be shedding light on unspoken taboo topics.”

Screen Nation DigitaliS nominations are still open. Make hast in voting (here) as this closes on Sunday 7th January 2018. An awards ceremony will follow on 14th January 2018.

We’re excited about the coming year as there’re many activities on the horizon for the Women Of The Lens brand. Do stay in touch with latest announcements through following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat on: @womenofthelens

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