My Layers

Directed by Susanne Serres

We access the thoughts of Kym, a Black man confronted by his inner demons that are incarnated by dancers. Kym must remember what helped him recover from psychosis, which is his passion for art.


Director's Statement

MY LAYERS is particularly close to my heart because this project is inspired by a tumultuous time in my life: that of my transition to adulthood where I suffered from a psychosis of my own. Fortunately, I was in a family that gave me the psychological and emotional support I needed to get through it. I also had the support from the medical team of experts that helped me get back on my feet. However, not everyone is so lucky. When untreated, psychosis causes a lot of suffering and it can have varying degrees of impact on social, family, school, and professional functioning. Indeed, psychosis often appears in early adulthood, at a critical time where major social and psychological changes occur in human development. Luckily for me, I used my passion for the art to help me recover from my psychosis. It wasn’t an easy journey. Sometimes I only had the energy to write down few lines of a new concept that pops out of my head before using up all my energy for the rest of the day. But I was determined not to give up: artistic creation is part of my DNA. Without art, I’m not complete. That’s what I wanted to express in MY LAYERS. The inner fight that Kym, the character in the short film must make in order to regain complete control of who he is. Another tool that helped him win this battle was his connexion with spirituality. The belief that we are not alone truly helped me face adversity in my darkest times. That’s what I would love for the audience of this movie to understand: Kym was able to win his fight because of his passion for art and his strong spiritual values that developed while he was facing his darkness. The production process was exciting and inspiring, because everyone on the set contributed their energy to support my general vision. The dancers used Kym’s voice-over of the text to express a wide range of emotions, from pain to anger and relief. Kym was very focus about his role in the film. Since he was the only actor on set, he knew he needed to carry a lot on his shoulder. As the director, I was there to guide him express the right range of emotions. Everyone delivered a beautiful performance, and it was beautiful to watch them all get on board. The post-production process was full of great surprises. It’s one thing to direct a film set, but it’s another to have few steps back and watch the hard work you’ve done on screen. My editor Alexandra Dagenais is impressive. She always suggested cool ideas to spice up the editing. At the end of the editing process, I was completely satisfied with the final result. I also loved the original soundtrack Dan T. Ramos created. It suits the film perfectly. My hope for the audience’s response is for them to get a better understanding of what it means to suffer from psychosis.


Credits

Writer and Director | Susanne Serris

Voiceover | Kym Dominique-Ferguson

Dancers | Logan Bounet, Mathilde Mercier-Beloin, Louise Gamain, Christophe Benoit-Paiu, Shany Boubou HeavySoul Elie, Phantom, and Julianne Decerf

Contortionist | Angela McIlroy-Wagar

Director of Photography | Jean-Philippe Talbot

Electric Grip | Justin Agbohou

Editor/Colorist | Alexandra Dagenais

Music | Dan T. Ramos

Set Photographer | José Linares


About the Director

Susanne Serres

My Layers is Susanne Serres' third short film as director and writer. The award-winning short film ZAYA was Susanne's debut as a director. She was awarded Best Cinematography at LGBT Toronto Film Festival, the Diamond Award at the International Independent Film Awards, the Prestigious Award of Merit for Best Short Film at the Best Shorts Competition, and the One-Reeler Competition Award of Excellent. In 2020, Susanne was also the director for an episode segment of Sesame Street that will be airing in Spring 2021 on HBO and PBS.

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