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Stand Still 1

Stand Still 
Sheffield Shorts 2020
Fiction // Drama

Interview with director Isabella Wing-Davey

Firstly, tell us about the film and what inspired you to make it?

“Stand Still” tells the story of Susannah, a local GP who outwardly may seem to have it all together, nice husband, beautiful baby, perfect house, but is struggling with postnatal depression. We find her in a moment of crisis, and a chance sighting from Rupa brings them together and might offer her the help she needs.

There is this pervasive idealised version of motherhood that we wanted to challenge and both the writers had experienced postnatal depression and had an idea for this short film which we then developed with Film London’s short film scheme and premiered at BFI London Film Festival 2019. It’s also that depression has many faces, just because your house is clean doesn’t mean you’re not depressed. This was something that all of us felt very strongly that we wanted to speak to. It’s also important for us to reflect the authentic way that women can judge and also support each other, which we tried to explore in the Rupa/Susannah dynamic.

Do you feel that the issue of postnatal depression needs to be showcased more on screen?

Definitely. To be honest so many mental health issues should have more screentime, or more nuanced depiction on screen. 1 in 5 women experience some sort of mental health issue in the first year after giving birth, which is shockingly high, but we so rarely see it depicted on screen. And as a director, I had the chance to use a very specific cinematic language to show a woman struggling with depression, not using the overused shaky in-and-out of focus camerawork to depict mental health issues; to speak to the isolation of depression but also the distance some people feel when trying to help someone who is struggling.

What message would you like the audience to take away from watching the film?

That you never know what’s going with someone just from what they look like. But also to check in with yourself, your friends who are new parents, and know that the idealised version of motherhood is an unnecessary and unhelpful burden and that if you’re struggling, there is help out there and you can get through it.

Finally, what are you working on next? Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

It’s been a really strange year with the pandemic and production stopping and starting, but I’ve got a few features in development that have been keeping me busy during lockdowns and I’m looking forward to getting back on set again.


Film stills credit: Ashley Barron ACS


Behind the scenes photos credit: Jon Holloway