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  • Writer's pictureAfter Hour Film Festival

Cydney Cochrane is here for a long stay!

Updated: Jul 23, 2022

Mental health is not enough talked about and is still considered a taboo. Writer, director and producer of the short film - Short Stay, Cydney Cochrane has a different perspective though. She believes "Mental Health has no target audience" and should be discussed more often. The young multi-talented creative person wants to change how people perceive mental health.

We had an interesting chat with Cydney Cochrane on this.

After Hour : We have often seen mainstream cinema either mocking different mental health conditions, or glorifying violence by using mental health as a prop - how do you think new-age, independent directors such as you can bring in change?

Cydney : I believe because we are coming from experience, real personal experiences with either dealing with our own mental health issues or having loved ones in our lives dealing with it. That allows us to bring a new light towards it, a realistic one. I wanted to make sure while making this film that I was as honest, raw and real. I did not want to disrespect those with mental health issues by making an unrealistic ‘happy’ ending or making it violent implying everyone who has a mental illness is ‘crazy’. I have Anxiety, Depression, PTSD and OCD. I know how difficult it can be dealing with it on a day-to-day basis. It is very rare to see mental illness shown in a realistic way in mainstream film so I take pride in doing just that in my film, ‘Short Stay’.

After Hour : How do you think visual art impacts this society we live in?

Cydney : It is definitely a huge impact on today's society but it is an important impact that we should appreciate. It enriches our knowledge about the world we live in. It is a way we communicate with the world, to express our, thoughts, ideas, views and beliefs. It has the ability to change people's perspectives and teach us things. Although it can lead to negative impacts, it still brings out the harsh truth about some of the thing's in the world some would rather ignore because is it too hard to acknowledge. Which leads to people breaking their bubble of privilege and recognizing things in the world that we need to change. I believe is it something we cannot live without.

After Hour : Tell us more about your creative journey - we would love to know about your "practice" (the 5 short films you directed before this one)!

Cydney : That’s interesting, I was enrolled in an acting program at Toronto Film School. Being an extra in some student short films I became fascinated with everything the crew was doing. I then took any crew job I could find at the time to observe the process. I had multiple short film scripts ready to go so I decided, with absolutely no knowledge about film production, to just go ahead and make one. It was a disaster and you can tell the film was made by people who had no idea what they were doing. That was the best learning experience I could have asked for. It taught me what to do and what not to do. My second and third short film I made was to prove to myself and those who stopped believing in me that I did have the ability to make a good short film. My fourth one was to practice my camera working skills and my editing ability. I wanted to test myself to see if I knew how to use a camera and edit a short film on my own. My fifth one was part of a green-lit project in my acting program at TFS. All of those experiences shaped my knowledge of film production and gave me the confidence I needed to make, what I consider my first short film, ‘Short Stay’. It was rocky throughout those first five films. I had lost and gained respect by people from the same events. People thought I was stupid to make a film not knowing what I was doing, others thought it was admirable to take such a risk and make a film not knowing what I was doing. I am so grateful for all of that because without those experiences, I wouldn’t have gained the proper knowledge I needed to finally make a successful short film. Don’t be afraid to take a risk and just believe in yourself, it will pay off.

Cydney Cochrane - Writer, Director & Producer

After Hour : What are the road-blocks you have faced as an independent director, what could have been different?

Cydney : Roadblock's for me, a major one, is I do not come from money. Lots of people say you don’t need a lot of money to make a good short film. On some levels that is true, however the majority of the time it does hinder the ability to make a good, impactful and/or successful short film. With that being said I made ‘Short Stay’ on a shoestring budget. I was very fortunate that my hard work and passion with the film shined through the clear low budget aspect of the film. It is harder to have a low budget and make your dream short film. Not having the full budget I needed, I was forced to change things to match the budget I had. Ultimately this roadblock became a test on my ability to make my dream come true, to make a successful short film about mental health awareness. It is an honour that people appreciate this film because it means everything to me.

After Hour : What is motivating you to direct your seventh film? We genuinely hope there's a seventh one coming.

Cydney : I am actually in pre-production for my next film right now. Writing, creating and directing are my passions and I live for it. I feel the ‘sanest’ when I am creating new work and opportunities for myself and other artists. Without saying too much my next short film is in my all-time favourite genre, horror. About the ‘holiday’ I hate the most, Valentine's Day. Playing with the commercialism and unrealistic pressures couples and single people face on the dreadful day that is February 14th. I am very much looking forward to this project.

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