Award-winning animation tackles mental health

'Caldera' glimpses into a world of psychosis and explores a world of ambiguous reality and the nature of life and death.

Every once in a while, an animation comes along that truly takes our breath away, be it funny, charming, thought-provoking or mind-alterting. This multi award-winning animation from Orchid Animation is all of these things and more with its bold comment on the issues of mental illness.

Not only is the animation itself stunning; the character design, colours and story make it easy to see why it has received so many awards, nominations and mentions from the likes of Prix Ars Electronica, Maverick Movies and the Seattle International Film festival.

Understanding reality

Director Evan Viera says, "Caldera is inspired by my father's struggle with schizoaffective disorder. In states of delusion, my father has danced on the rings of Saturn, spoken with angels, and fled from his demons. He has lived both a fantastical and haunting life, but one that's invisible to the most of us.

"In our differing understanding of reality, we blindly mandate his medication, assimilate him to our marginalizing culture, and entirely misinterpret him for all he is worth. Caldera aims to not only venerate my father, but all brilliant minds forged in the haunted depths of psychosis."

The animation was helmed by Evan Viera and Chris Bishop and was produced at Hampshire College. It was the first film to go through the Bit Films Incubator Program, where founder and professor Chris Perry invites orphaned independent films to be made on campus with the College's resources.

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