Friday, October 12, 2012

I am as always on a quest - it is my Senior Thesis Film

Since I started film school I have known that I need to do a senior thesis film in my senior year in order to graduate.  I haven't worried too much about it because I knew a brilliant idea will come.  I have had faith.  Right now I think my purpose is to do a documentary on the Near Death Experience. And I am stressing about it because the time has come to get started and I just want to be sure I'm choosing the right thing for me.

This post is about my journey in deciding what to do my film about.

Immigration Reform: 

  • I started film school October 5, 2009. At the time I was over my head in stress about Immigration Issues. For the first few years I thought that I would do a documentary about Immigration Reform.  It is a sorely  misunderstood topic especially when it comes to the understanding of what happens when you marry a US Citizen. Gradually though I started to see that the subject is so misunderstood that it brings out the worst in people.  I'm not sure I want to launch my career with such a controversial issue and have since backed away from something so deeply personal to me. 

Latino Youth Giving Up On Their Education:

  • Up until this summer a narrative story aka fiction script had not inspired me  to the depths of where I felt I HAD to tell it.  But this summer a few documentary ideas have surfaced.  The first one that came to me is the idea that the Latino youth in my family, that are here legally and citizens of the US, are giving up on their life and education before they get started. I suppose I am a hypocrite to worry about this because I gave up at the beginning of high-school as well. Maybe that is why it bothers me so. I did turn myself around, but my past is highly a-typical.  I know I made a mistake and I keep seeing these wonderful kids who just a few years ago wanted to be architects and rocket scientists, and are now dropping out of school or say they want to go to Job Corp. Part of me felt baffled because it seems like youth who are here illegally want to go to college, and want to work harder. So why are the US Citizens who have grown up almost exactly the same giving up?  And then I realized perhaps it is a generational thing and not a Latino youth issue.  It think it has more to do with the sense of American entitlement that we (Americans) all feel but unless you spend time abroad we are not aware of it. 
ADHD Medicines Mess kids up:


  • I was still thinking about doing the Latino Youth Documentary based from the frustration of 3 of my nieces and nephews and then this issue surfaced AGAIN. My Sister in Law is doing her best, she is trying to do all the right things for her kids but she is doing so blindly. I've encouraged her to get educated several times but what happened was she went to some child psychologists and Psychiatrists who she takes their word as gold.  I have been very proud of her to work harder at learning how to take care of herself and her family but somehow she got to these messed up Child Psychologists who have convinced her all her children have problems. And even to the point where she thinks that her children are so much more difficult than other children, and the doctors have made her think she needs to get disability for them.   That is the tendancy now days for every person to be categorized as something. I'm very SICK AND TIRED OF THIS. People have always been different, some people get fidgety when they are not interested in a subject. Some people really do have ADHD but it is much more rare than how these dangerous medicines have been prescribed.  They have even opened the ages to who how old you can be to take this medicine http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111016121702.htm
  • Last year I met a mother at my children's bus stop who seemed very intelligent and articulate. Her and her husband were unemployed and I found it strange that they were unemployed for so long when my husband can ALWAYS find work, he has determination.   They evidently were both of Native American descent even though she looks Irish. I think they get welfare or Indian reservation money, I'm really not sure how they live, but they ended up months and months behind on their rent and I just didn't understand it. I'm sort of slow when figuring out if someone is a drug addict. I started planning that we were going to hang out and have drinks with the children playing and just have a nice time. So we invited them over one evening. We had a really fun time, we played PS3 Sing Star and laughed and told stories. They were both really fidgety.  They both told me they had been put on ADHD Meds or Ritalin at a young age and that was why there were so fidgety because they both had ADHD.  We had a great time and made plans to hang out again another time. At the bus stop she would always say how she stays up late cleaning. But through the months and lending my steam cleaner I saw how her house was a mess, like worse than normal messy. And I found out that she used to have a drug problem. Well hit me over the head with a club because I finally realized it wasn't that she WAS a drug addict the issue is that she still IS a drug addict. Her house is always filthy, she says she is always cleaning, her kids seem sullen and timid and weak etc and she is always up very very late, plus strange people come and go to her house. Even one time I think a guy that was at her house offered me drugs, but I don't know the slang terminology and I just stared at him like what?


  • Back to my sister in law. She had assured me several times that my nieces and nephews were taken off the ADHD Medicines but about a month and 1/2 ago I was confronted with the fact that my niece was still on it.  I was shocked.  My brain started making this connection that Ritilin which is the brand name for Methylphenidate can lead to Meth addiction? I had recently watched the National Geographic documentary on Meth entitled National Geographic: World's Most Dangerous Drug.  I've seen several documentaries on the meth epidemic, but this one was particularly interesting because of how it explains why it was invented and how it has come through  history.  It also explains what happens to the brain when you use meth.   I had seen this same phenomenon on how the brain is affected when people use Ecstasy and that people can damage their brains ability to create dopa-mine naturally.  But after watching the National Geographic Documentary I realized Meth has the same issue.  So one day a few weeks after watching the documentary I am sitting visiting my sister-in- law and hearing about how her children are having problems at school and it was only a few weeks into the year. And also that my niece is on ADHD meds again.   I tried to explain to her the connection I was noticing such as the couple that were meth addicts and had ADHD as a child.  I tried to explain to her that Methylphenidate is a relative of Methamphetamine.   My Brother in law and Sister in law sat there straight faced and looked at me like my opinion didn't matter. As if it was  ONLY my opinion and not a commonly known issue that ADHD meds are bad for children. They told me how they asked the doctors about my concerns and were told not to worry about it and that I was wrong. Now they did not do any of their own research. They just listen to what ever the doctors say and figure I am full of crap. Stressed and worried I immediately sat on their couch on my smart phone, while everyone else sat chatting at the table and researched documents and studies from reputable colleges about the subject. What I found was very upsetting. There is indeed evidence that Methlphenidate pre-disposes the brain to being more receptive to cocaine and illegal drugs. If you search Ritilin and drug abuse you will find many articles and studies - here is one that  illustrates it clear and concise. - http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/issues/ritalin.html  
  • My best friend and I have been discussing this issue and we are convinced that many of the ADHD symptoms are reactions to our modern diet. We think that through changing the diet and special attention to the children you can alleviate the symptoms of ADHD.  Some children may act disruptive because of celiacs disease, others act out of control with consuming corn syrup which is in a huge percentage of packaged foods, and then there are preservatives and genetically modified foods that our bodies do not know what to do with. 
  • The issue is huge but I wanted to educate about how ADHD medicines can lead to drug abuse. However, I realized in a long drive back from a film shoot, when I was having a deep philosophical discussion about spiritual beliefs that I wanted to make this documentary from a place of anger and frustration within myself. That is when I realized I cannot do it.
Near Death Experiences:
  • One subject I have ALWAYS wanted to get involved with is a spiritual one, whether it be mixed media, writing, or  film. However I have not felt the urgency to do so because I am completely at peace with my spiritual beliefs. There is even a series on my blog here that details my journey and where I began and where I am up to about a year ago.  Here is the first in the series. http://puertovallartagirl.blogspot.com/2009/11/somewhere-over-rainbow-my-spiritual.html anyway on that long drive to the film shoot I had the opportunity to talk about deep spiritual beliefs and found out that who I was driving with had actually had a near death experience. That was 2 people I had recently met.  Days after that I kept running across books, movies, and conversations about this subject and started deciding maybe I should do it.  Then 2 days ago I was wavering, I was making adjustments to what I wanted to do based on course requirements and an arrogant professor and started changing my mind.  Yesterday morning I felt like I was being hit on the head with signs that I should indeed do this documentary.  So stay tuned.  
I am doing a documentary about the Near Death Experience. It is entitled (as of now) "What happens when you die?"