DANCING ALONG THE BORDERLINE
IN THE 10 years since its launch, the Glasgow Short Film Festival has gained a reputation for celebrating diverse forms of cinematic expression.
This year is set to be no different with a varied and exciting line-up bringing ground-breaking work and challenging the boundaries of conventional narrative film.
Borderline, a unique offering from Glasgow director Lindsay Goodall will be screened as part of the event.
The 12-minute documentary combines one woman’s love of dance and experiences with mental health.
After a long history of turbulent behaviour, Lynn Shaw from Aberdeen, was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder – a condition she explores through dance throughout the film.
The documentary was featured as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival by See Me which aims to challenge the perceptions of mental health.
Despite this, Goodall never set out to make a film about a mental health disorder.
“The film is about a dancer called Lynn”, she explains. “She has been diagnosed with BPD and in the film she’s trying to explore this through dance.
“It’s very much a documentary, it’s not a dance film. We’re following them (Lynn and her dance partner, Vince) through the process of creation. We improvise a few different dances in response to the emotions she’s feeling.
“I thought it was really important to have Lynn’s voice in the film. I didn’t want to speak to doctors or anyone else. It’s very much a film about Lynn, who has BPD and is a dancer.
“The film is about a person rather than a film about the disorder
“She talks about her personal experiences which may be different to someone else who has it. She’s talking from a very personal point of view and the way she expresses that in her dance is also very personal. Others might express BPD through words or pictures. She expresses it through dance because that is her own art form.”
Goodall, originally from Glenrothes, Fife, is no stranger to making films on topics surrounded by stigma. In 2009, she went back home to film her grandmother Irene Lowes, then 92-years-old, who was suffering from dementia.
The footage captured Lowes in the year before her death being looked after by her only daughter, Goodall’s mother Roberta, as the family tried to navigate their new normality.
The touching end product struck a cord with audiences and went on to win the Jury Prize at the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Palm Springs International Shortfest.
As with Irene, Goodall was keen to make sure Lynn’s role in Borderline was central to the process.
She says: “We met a couple of times before filming and we made sure that we had a lovely space to work in.
“It was just a collaboration and at all points I tried to make sure Lynn was comfortable with what we were doing.
“Even through the rough cut she got to watch the edit, which I don’t usually do.
“Because it was such a personal film she needed to know where we were going with the project and I needed to know she was happy with it – which she was, so that was a relief.”
The director is hoping that the 12-minute feature will challenge people to start thinking differently about mental health.
She explains how she would like it to force audiences to look at disorders in a wider way.
“Lynn is a great person who happens to have this disorder but it doesn’t define her. I’d like to turn it on its head”, she explains.
Borderline will feature in a vast line-up of short films throughout the five-day festival.
As part of the Bill Douglas Award For International Short Film, 32 short films will be screened, telling stories from Palestine to Siberia.
A Wall Is A Screen, a part city tour, part outdoor-cinema event, will be returning for a second year. Its first visit saw 600 people taking to the streets to watch the screenings take over neglected spaces, familiar buildings and commercial facades.
Tickets to all events are on sale now at glasgowfilm.org/ gsff.