Basel Helal: An Egyptian Filmmaker Creates A Short Film Highlighting The Issue Of Mental Health Disorders

“One in four people in the world will be affected by mental disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.” World Health Organization, 2001

Recently a video surfaced on Facebook and other social media platforms that had several people buzzing about it. Not just for its editing or techniques used but most importantly for the topic that it tackles.
“Disorder” is a 90-second short film created by our very own Egyptian filmmaker and athlete Basel Ehab in collaboration with Omar Mokbel.
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The movie highlights a very serious issue that is increasing every day and especially in our country since its considered a taboo subject in our culture. Basel and Omar were able to grasp through a simple and yet extraordinary performance the struggles and hardships that people with mental health issues/disorders go through in their daily lives.

We sat down with Basel and asked him a few questions regarding this work of his, how he came up with it and the struggles that he faced.

Hi Basel, why don’t you start by telling our readers the plot of your latest Project “Disorder”?

The whole film is about someone who suffers from a disorder (not mentioning which disorder). The film begins with the person alone in this place which you figure out that it’s his own mind, then looks in the mirror to find there is another one which is him as well. Feeling afraid of where he is, he tries to escape from this new identity only to find out that there is no exit and accepting the fact that they are one now. Then later you can see that while trying to escape from the new identity you can see another identity sitting in the dark just forgotten and moaning “help” in the background, which means this might be the man’s original identity or behavior but it got lost and forgotten. The film continues with sounds in the background of people talking/screaming as they became more than one now. The last scene is an open ending that doesn’t explain which identity is that one at the end. Was it the one forgotten? The one trying to escape (thinking that this is his place)? One of the new ones coming? Or other?

And what was the inspiration behind this project of yours?

How many times have we heard the word “Depression”? I guess we hear it daily, basically because most people refer sadness to depression, which is not the same.
I felt depression I knew how it feels and how it’s too complicated to explain it to someone.
I found out that I am suffering from “Depersonalization disorder” and I had a rough time explaining how it feels. So, this gave me the inspiration to read about disorders.
And because for me films are one of the best ways to explain and express myself, I decided to create the short film “Disorder” just to increase the awareness of such a subject.
People who suffer from disorders are not monsters and they are not really faking it, it’s just really hard for them to express or explain the storm that’s happening inside them.

Why parkour, what does it refer to in the film?

The parkour part is just a metaphor for the person trying to escape from where he is. But he doesn’t really know where he is, so that what the flips mean. When you see someone flips you don’t really understand it until you learn it or make it. Same as a disorder when you see someone talking about a disorder you don’t really understand him until you are diagnosed with it.

Finally, can you tell us the thing you struggled with the most while working on this project?

Well, I had this idea a long time ago but I wasn’t really able to put my thoughts and ideas into focus. Then while me and Omar Mokbel just cruising with the car, we found this abandoned place, and inspiration just hit us, we said that it would be the perfect place. And yet we had only 2 hours before sunset. I had to improvise every single shot in the film including the story and then I organized it through the editing phase. Editing took me about 22 hours, and the whole video is 90 seconds. So basically, this film is shot and edited in a total of 24 hours to produce a 90 seconds video.