“WSIM: What Suffered Inside Me” is a short drama about a character named Simon that sees himself as an incomplete stick figure with crossed lines (horizontal and vertical) on his face. He visualizes simple figures with only horizontal lines on their faces as unable to see his inner self. The feelings of loneliness, unhappiness, and falling into darkness, represented by black blobs, can form clinical depression. At the beginning of the film, Simon is having a meal with a dark figure. Simon doesn’t have eyes to see the figure’s inner self and doesn’t understand him until the black figure begins to show his unhappy mood. Simon notices the way that this figure is acting and his eyes begin to open.
Different scenes take place such as Simon’s flashbacks before and after his disability, and other suffering moments that he has experienced. Using his imagination to express his feelings and memories, he creates an artwork — hung in a gallery — to let people see, share, and understand his invisible disability.
Jennifer Hardy suffered a stroke when she was 14 years old, in 2000. Before her stroke, she achieved A grades in high school and wanted to pursue medical school or zoology. After her stroke, she had to relearn how to speak and write, forgetting her mom’s name and basic words like “thumb” or "bath". She couldn’t travel long distances or exercise for three years while the blood clot shrank. She struggled to achieve passing grades, requiring constant help from her gracious friend and years of speech therapy. She developed symptoms of aphasia: difficulty in speaking, understanding, and paying attention. Her stroke also left her with complete half blindness in each eye.
She lost the logical left side of her brain that processed communication and critical thinking (required for doctors and zoologists – her goal), leaving her feeling overly depressed, isolated, alone, and not understood; she was teased and excluded from group work in school and lost friends because of her learning disability.
She was troubled with her aphasia and began to focus on developing her right brain and skills in visual art, eventually enrolling in and graduating from the Ontario College of Art and Design University, in Toronto, Canada . She majored in Drawing and Painting, also studying Integrated Media, creating the 2-dimensional classical animation “WSIM: What Suffering Inside Me” as her thesis project in her final year. The short film was screened at over a dozen film festivals in Canada and the U.S.A. She won 3 Best Film Awards and an Honourable Mention. With this short film she hopes to spread a message of awareness about aphasia and invisible disabilities.
For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/wsimfilm