DIRECTORS: Kareem J. Mortimer, Laura Gamse
In this wild rag-to-riches tale circling psychosis and genius, the story of prolific painter Kendal Hanna reveals a case study of how we institutionalize difference. Brigidy Bram uncovers the forces threatening to erase Hanna’s memory, his work, and his name from history.
Born in 1936 in Nassau, Kendal Hanna is a painter and sculptor known today as the Bahamas’ most prolific living artist.
Despite exhibiting extraordinary talent at a young age, Hanna was deported from the US, committed to a psychiatric institution, misdiagnosed with schizophrenia and subjected to a draconian regimen of 1950s-era electroshock therapy. Modern electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is used to treat depression and bipolar disorder—though the electrical stimulation of the brain may create permanent gaps in memory, the benefits are worth the risk to many patients. The electroshock therapy of Hanna’s time, however, was a far more blunt instrument which we now know would have had no effect on schizophrenia. That is, if Hanna were schizophrenic at all.
Due to treatment, Hanna’s memories have become understandably muddled. Dates have been lost, names come and go, individual memories surface and sink. Drawing from the strong literary and cinematic tradition of anachronistic narratives, we uncover with Hanna the many mysteries of his life, as one might put together a jigsaw puzzle, piece by piece. Brigidy Bram documents as Hanna investigates his biography from the inside out, masterfully revealing the forces that threatened to erase his memory, his work, and his name from history.
Now 86, Hanna has become one of the Bahamas’ most celebrated artists, prolifically releasing work deemed “carefully considered and contemplated, provocative and masterful” (Dionne Benjamin). He lives by the sea in his home island of New Providence, isolated due to the pandemic. “We all must go through a personal apocalypse,” Hanna shrugs as he marks another brushstroke. “So it be.”
|START OF PRODUCTION:||2012|
|EXPECTED DELIVERY:||January 2023|
|SHOOTING FORMAT:||4k, 35mm, 8mm, VHS|
|SHOOTING LOCATIONS:||Bahamas, New York, Los Angeles|
|PRODUCTION COMPANY:||Daydream Reels|
|PRODUCTION COUNTRY:||Bahamas, United States|
|CONFIRMED PARTNERS:||Sundance Documentary Film Program, Sandbox Films, International Documentary Association, Pare Lorentz Fund|
|CURRENT PROJECT STATUS:||We are 80% done shooting and editing at the same time, we are slated to be completed first quarter of 2023.|