Bonnie MacRae’s short film All Up There is relatable and darkly comical for endometriosis sufferers

Fast-paced, immersive and multifaceted, the film’s visuals contrast shots of hospital waiting rooms with youthful nights out, aiming to present audiences with the duality of life with a chronic illness. To raise a truthful awareness of the subject, Bonnie felt it was important to show “not only the physicalities of the condition and the mental toll it plays but also the ‘normal’ parts of a young person’s life”, she says. The contrast between these two visual worlds was “one of the most important things to establish” in the film’s edit, in order to show the wider impact an invisible condition can have and for audiences to see “just how hard it can be to have parts of your life taken away from you” when coming of age.

Having her message for vital changes to endometriosis care at the forefront, the whole project was shot over two days in Glasgow with a fully female crew and a very small budget from the support of GMAC film and Creative Scotland. With no formal production or filmmaking training, “I was very much learning as I went along”, Bonnie says. The project was also an opportunity to do all the post production for a story very personal to her, tying up her edit with a collaboration with DJ and composer Kerr Darling for the film’s electronic soundtrack. Kerr’s track was constructed from sounds Bonnie had sampled from her “GP waiting room, the hospital and the answering machine”, showing the reality of some of her medical experiences in the smaller details of the film’s soundscape.

Since its debut the film has garnered attention from festivals and online platforms, giving Bonnie the opportunity to sign with Bacon Productions as well as make her move down to London to “start giving directing a proper go”, she says. Bonnie also had the chance to screen the short in parliament where she hosted a panel alongside charities, politicians and campaigners to give a speech on her experiences with endometriosis – an experience that made her feel both “inspired and deflated” she tells us.

Overwhelmed with how many people have connected with the film and shared their journeys to diagnosis with her, Bonnie explains that “there’s still so much that needs to happen next to improve and revolutionise Endometriosis care”. With the film’s end credits delivering some pressing statistics: “1.5 million people live with endometriosis in the UK” and “54 percent of people don’t know what it is” there is still a long way to go… “But to know that All Up There has played a tiny part in connecting with those who suffer means the world to me”, the director says.

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