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Filmmaking Process


This week I have begun my filmmaking process. I have started with the pain sequence. To begin with I wanted to focus on my ribs. I have Classical Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which is a genetic connective tissue disorder that affects my entire body. My connective tissue is more fragile, causing issues in my joints, organs, skin, bones, ligaments and so on.  In the UK medical departments focus on areas of the body or certain types of connections, metaphorically dismantling the body. 

Prior to my diagnosis and even in part now, when I have been a patient in biomedical spaces, these various departments have found looking at my condition holistically difficult. My condition is porous, affecting my entire body, but these departments find it hard to understand a condition which has no interest in how modern medicine has chosen to divide the human anatomy. 

As such, it can be objectifying when in these spaces, I am cut up and inspected but rarely seen as a full human being with a condition that is knitted into the fabric of who I am, my very DNA. I am my condition, it’s why I have large eyes and soft skin and also why I have failing organs and a collapsing spine, I experience the world through my body and I am my body.

I want the film to explore this feeling of a dismantled body, so the section on pain will focus on particular parts of the body and how those parts experience pain.

I have started my filmmaking process by focusing on my ribs. My ribs are loose, they move and fold over one another, they slip and they become inflamed. When the cartilage between the ribs becomes inflamed I experience a condition called Costochondritis. It is not a serious condition, but it is extremely painful and is often compared to the feeling of having a heart attack. I have this condition chronically. It feels as though something is filling my chest and expanding and my rib cage is being pushed and ripped apart. It also burns and stings.

I have previously created a digital collage to convey this feeling, as seen below. So I am using this collage as a starting point for the film sequence.

I am using stock footage of swarms of bees and wasps and of chest scans, along with my collage, which I have animated to create the sequence in time with a piece of music composed by my husband in response to the theme of pain.

A screenshot of Adobe Premiere Pro consisting of a timeline with blue, pink and purple shapes and a green wave form at the bottom. Above in the top right is a playback box which shows a still of an x-ray dissolving into a swarm of bees. On the left is the effects tab with a list of different parameters.

A screenshot of Adobe Fresco A digital collage and drawing representing pain in a rib cage. The background is black, where is a drawing of a plain white rib cage, within the rib cage there is a photo collage that makes it look as if the ribs are filled with a beehive, bees filling the space and flying out of the spaces between ribs. On the far right of the image is a selection of different bee picture thumbnails. On the far left is the toolbar.

Charlie Fitz

Charlie Fitz is a UK based sick and disabled artist, writer and medical humanities postgraduate at Birkbeck, where she is a recipient of a Wellcome Trust studentship. She is a member of Resting Up Collective and of the arts practice group TRIAD³. Her multiform projects broadly explore experiences of illness and trauma. She worked as the engagement assistant for ‘Coming Out’ (2017) was on the activist panel consulting on curatorial and learning strategies for the ACC exhibition ‘Woman, Power, Protest’ (2018) both Arts Council Collection(ACC) Exhibitions at Birmingham Museum & Art gallery (BMAG). She was a guest speaker at Robinson College Feminist Society at Cambridge University, presenting on Feminist art & activism (2019). The same year she produced her first joint exhibition ‘Radical Acts of Care’ (2019) in collaboration with Oscar Vinter. The exhibition was hosted online and in person in London and Manchester. Fitz had work in Profile Gallery’s ‘Virtual Exhibition'(2020), Oddball Gallery’s ‘Locked/Down'(2020) and ‘See You At Home'(2021) by Able Zine x Kiosk N1C. She currently has artwork in the virtual show ‘Exhibition: Work in PROGRESS’ by Triad³ and has an upcoming group show for women’s history month called HYSTERICAL in aid of UN Women UK and Mermaids Charity. She has had short fiction, nonfiction, poetry and visual art published.