Presenting Problems is the first volume in a series of narrative-based shorts about various psychological conflicts, encounters, states and dilemmas. The films do not illustrate traditional clinical categories (such as symptoms, diagnoses or theoretical ideas). Instead they approach internal dynamics — a train of thought, a deeply held conviction, an unconscious set of feelings— by presenting a particular problem of “being in the world.” These dilemmas often can fuel what psychotherapists see in symptoms (addiction, depression, anxiety, etc.). In this way, the movies are less about illustrations of psychopathology and more about ways in which we come to know (and not know) something about ourselves (and others).
These are some strange stories about strange characters in some strange situations.
The films have been called science fiction without the science, plot-driven thought-poems, comedies about tragedies, external fantasies about inner realities and take us on faraway journeys without anything of note happening. Each film uses a different visual idiom (drawing, collage, movie stills, photographs) to convey some of the particular paradoxes of the subject matter’s psychological dilemma.
They delight and provoke, appealing to all types of audiences, young and old, professionals, un-professionals and non-professionals alike. They have been enjoyed in a variety of contexts such as discussion groups, classrooms, and clinical workshops. Select films from the collection have won prizes at the Best Shorts Festival, the Los Angeles Movie Awards, and the Accolade Competition.
Although the films are not explicitly about therapy, they are all concerned with the question of what is therapeutic and convey different ways different types of psychic pain. The hope is that they provide new ways to discuss (and think about) ideas about character, internal dynamics, symptoms, conflict, the unconscious, notions of what facilitates (or restricts) understanding, allows for (or hampers) change and promotes (or flattens) vitality.