a deep and intimate story of grief, mental health, and friendship
The film captures the intertwined journeys of two women
of color as they recount their experiences with mental health. In one
journey, we see Kime recounting her life experiences living with
mental health diagnosis. The next journey shows the struggle of the filmmaker
as she grieves the loss of Kime, the film's main protagonist who
passed away during production, dealing with her loss and grief.
Directed by Elena Guzman
Produced by Kim Edwards & Laura Menchaca Ruiz
In the age of #Blacklivesmatter and #metoo the experience of Black women as it relates to policing and sexual violence is a salient matter coming to the forefront of national consciousness. Black women continue to be erased and ignored in national conversations despite their centrality to many of these movements. This erasure becomes even more discernable at the intersections of sexuality, disability, and mental health.
Smile4Kime is a timely documentary that explores the mental health journey of two women: Kime, an African American woman who lived with dissociative identity disorder after a series of sexual assaults and Elena, an Puerto Rican woman who is dealing with depression and grief after the death of Kime. The intertwined story of their mental health journeys and friendship reveals the ongoing struggles that plague many communities of color regarding mental health. Both women’s stories grapple with misconceptions about mental health while providing a close look at the intersections of race, class, gender, and mental health.
In providing an in-depth look into both women’s interconnected experiences, the film offers a broader context in which we learn about, engage with, and explore what a reimagined mental health care system could look like.