Ellipsis still, by Jasmine Freeman
Toggle caption Photo by Jasmine Freeman

Video Production alumna shoots film in Danville, VA to shed light on mental illness among youth

This story originally appeared in GoDanRiver.com 


DANVILLE -- Danville native and New York resident Jasmine Freeman brought some movie-making excitement to George Washington High School last month when she shot a short film at the school and other parts of the city.

Freeman is directing a short film, “Ellipsis,” depicting the life of a teenage African American girl, Cassie, struggling with depression and anxiety caused by a toxic home life.

Key scenes of the film were shot at GW and in the North Main Street area on Dec. 13 and 14, and other parts are being shot in New York. Freeman plans to return to Danville in February to film in other sections of the city.

During an interview via telephone Wednesday, Freeman said she wanted to shed light on mental illness among youth.

“I feel like young people are overlooked in the discussion about mental illness,” said Freeman, 23.

Also, it’s especially difficult in communities of color where it’s not really talked about, she said.

The movie will be about 10 to 15 minutes long and will premiere in New York in March. Freeman plans to show the film in Danville in April or May.

Jasmine graduated from GW in 2014 and went on to earn an arts and sciences degree with a concentration in film and theater from Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey.

Her mother, Loretha Anderson, recalled Freeman telling her during her freshman year about how passionate she was about getting into film.

“She poured her heart out,” Anderson said. “I’m a nurse. She said that’s not what she wanted to do.”

Anderson felt that her daughter shouldn’t enter a conventional field just because everyone else is doing it.

“I’m very proud of her,” Anderson said.

Freeman said she also wants to set a good example for her 16-year-old sister.

As for Freeman’s struggle with anxiety and depression, she sees a therapist weekly and talks to classrooms about mental illness. She wants to show her film to students in Danville and let them know about treatment options.

During Freeman’s childhood in Danville, watching movies and television shows was a way to bond with her mother and sister.

“I’ve always been interested in it [film-making] as a way for me to connect with people,” Freeman said.

Read the whole story at GoDanRiver.com