Congratulations to Guiding Lights alumni Marie Lidén on BAFTA nomination
Guiding Lights alumni Marie Lidén has been nominated for a BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer, for her direction of Electric Malady.
Marie was selected to take part on Lighthouse’s Guiding Lights Feature Focus scheme in 2018. Mentored by Directors Peter Middleton and James Spinney (Notes on Blindness, The Real Charlie Chaplin), Marie was supported through the completion of her first feature film Electric Malady.
The film follows William Hendeberg who, for over a decade, has been living with a debilitating condition called Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), that has forced him to retreat from society and live in isolation, removed from modern technology. He lives his life out in the woods, buried under fabric blankets for protection, and facing deep physical and emotional barriers. His inability to be near any modern means of technology or communication make sharing his, and stories like his, extraordinarily difficult.
Electric Malady is a necessary and urgent window into what it's like, not only to suffer from a debilitating condition, but to struggle to receive support or even recognition from society for that suffering. EHS in particular is not currently a recognised medical diagnosis (although it is under investigation by WHO) and so the film encourages us to reckon with preconceived notions of suffering, diagnosis and treatment. It is a meditation on isolation - something many of us feel a fragment of understanding of since the pandemic - but a reality Hendeberg has lived for ten years, in the Swedish wilderness.
Lidén's connection to the syndrome is deeply personal, her mother also suffered from EHS and for years as a family they attempted to remove electricity from their lives. As a result her approach is sensitive, poetic and radiates care and intimacy. Key to this, but also a necessary approach given the physical limitations of filming electrosensitivity sufferers, much of the footage was captured with hand-cranked cameras shooting 16mm film, and sound recording was completed with non-transmitting microphones, with scheduled rest days for Hendeberg to keep his discomfort to a minimum. As such, Lidén's approach hints at kinder, perhaps better ways of working for those who suffer from invisible illnesses, but also for us all.
Electric Malady is due for UK release in March 2023! Watch the official trailer above.