The sun still exists somewhere on a dark day… – Lance Blakney

“The sun still exists somewhere on a dark day…”

Film is one of the most powerful mediums in the world. It can make you feel things you never thought, react in ways you may never have, or give you hope you may have lost. When you are struggling with mental health issues, often you lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. My film, Velle to Want, is based on my own experiences with mental health. As most people that battle with their mental health, I find it a challenge to effectively communicate my struggles to those around me. So, I wrote this film to serve as a tool to help people understand what it is like to be trapped in your own mind.

Velle to Want is a realist narrative presented in a series of surreal visuals. This film is meant to have an underlying message of finding hope in a dark place. The title, “Velle” meaning to will or wish, translates to a want to want – a want to live. I spent almost three years developing the script for this film. What started off as a therapeutic way to express the dark thoughts in my head, quickly took on a life of its own and turned into the film that the New Brunswick Arts Board graciously allowed me to create with their support.

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, it is important for me to see representation within the local filmmaking community. I want young queer filmmakers to be able to look at their creative peers and feel like they belong. In order to reach your full creative potential, it is important to feel safe, and like you are able to fully express yourself, your views, and your visions. Growing up, much of my life was spent suppressing aspects of my identity – not just limited to mental health issues – and I want to be able to show people that you can be who you want to be and be, and make the meaningful films that you want to make. Furthermore, when you want to make meaningful art, there is a network there to support you.

New Brunswick is on the forefront of so many industries. The local filmmaking community is unparallel in its talent and kindness. As creative individuals on the east coast of Canada, we rely greatly on the generosity of our friends and colleagues to help us realize our visions into something tangible. I want to give a shout out to my film production partners at Strike Pictures: Arianna Martinez and Gordon Mihan. Over the last years, your support has undoubtedly allowed me to grow beyond what I thought I was capable of. Also, thank you to everyone at the New Brunswick Filmmaker’s Cooperative, and to all the friends I’ve made across the various projects, that I have come to admire and respect over the years. You all inspire me.

Lance Kenneth Blakney is a filmmaker and photographer based in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. He works as an Integrated Marketing Officer for the University of New Brunswick.  His passion for still and moving imagery, in combination with his honours degree in Media Arts and Cultures, facilitates the creation of visually beautiful photographs and films that can also exist within a social and political context. Solo gallery shows, guest lectures, workshops, and numerous international publications and awards have given him a presence within the artistic community both locally and abroad.

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