Derek Wang: Exploring film and Mental illness

canon camera on mac laptop

Hello everyone,

My name is Derek Wang and my concentration is Neuroethics and philosophy. For my summer project I am trying to explore the stigma of mental illness surrounding the Asian American community. I have recently met with my friend who attends USC for film to discuss what kind of camera, mic and equipment would be best for the project. I have acquired a DSLR EOS 7D and ordered a Rode Wireless filmmaker microphone kit. I believe it is important to give a short excerpt of what I have learned about mental illness from my research.

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The DSLR EOS 7D that I bought! I’m still waiting for the mic to be sent to my house.
My friend who helped me with brainstorming ideas for the project.

Mental illnesses may be seen as a sign of weakness in the Asian American community and can be looked down upon when a support system is needed. I believe that this film project will provide the facts and emotional appeal to raise awareness for mental illnesses. According to the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS) factors such as language barriers, social status and family stress affect Asian Americans more than other races. Language barriers prevent Asian Americans from seeking out help and keep them unaware of mental health resources such as psychologists and medicine. Social status is important in Asian American families and is often defined as income level, profession and familial respect. With mental illness some of these factors are harder to obtain for people which can lead to further isolation towards the individuals with mental illnesses. Also, within family life the second generation is often times pulled between adapting to American culture while maintaining satisfaction for their parent’s standards, who believe that their sacrifices of immigrating warrant control over their children’s lives. This ideology leads to depression which is perpetuated by familial pressure to succeed.

Recently, I have setup interviews with two friends who have had depression and are willing to speak for the project. I am still trying to decide if I should focus on one mental illness or have case studies for different types of mental illness. I am also trying to contact two doctors to speak about their encounters with their patients who are predominantly Asian, and ask if they can speak about their patients with mental illness. I hope to finish filming by the end of July and have some samples for the next blog post!

My friend who has had depression and is willing to share his story on my project. The picture was taken with the DSLR. I may use some shots from this location in the video.