a short film by Nonnie Christine Egbuna.
Poppy is the story of a young woman who celebrates her birthday on the anniversary of her best friend’s suicide.
Poppy is a project that has been on my heart for many years, one that presented itself to me recently as a story I needed to tell, and soon. The urgency with which I set about creating this film stems from my personal connection to its subject matter; a story about mental illness and its outcomes, about friendship, love, and choice, Poppy is a film that encompasses many aspects of my recent personal narrative.
When I was diagnosed with clinical depression two years ago, I could not see any light in the situation. At my lowest, I operated on a day-to-day basis solely thinking about survival—keeping my grades up, eating at least one full meal a day, and adjusting to new medications. Now, I am at a much higher point. I am mentally and emotionally healthier, and I am ready to do with my mental health journey what I know best: to make art out of it.
This project is an exploration and expression of mental illness, through the lens of film and filmmaking practice. The final product, Poppy, is a short film following a young woman—Q—who celebrates her birthday on the anniversary of her best friend—Zion’s—suicide.
In creating this film, I have stepped into a new chapter of my personal mental health narrative. I have realized that, in many ways, I am and/or have been both Q and Zion. I have been so well-acquainted with darkness as to consider seeking it eternally, and I have gotten up on countless mornings and chosen the light, chosen the life. I can tell both stories, this story, from both sides, because I have lived both sides. Creating Poppy has empowered me to better understand the nuances of mental illness both generally and personally, and to ultimately turn my pain into power.