B.C. director wins New York International Film Award with documentary on ADHD
Shiny Objects - The Conductor with ADHD is scheduled to premiere in Kelowna in September
For Kelowna, B.C., filmmaker Gillie Richards, making a motion picture about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) turned out to be more than just a story about someone else.
As she was putting the film together, she was diagnosed with the disorder as well.
Richards was interviewing psychologist Irene Spelliscy and life coach Dan Duncan for the documentary when she found out she also has ADHD.
Much to her delight, on Friday, Richards learned her debut documentary Shiny Objects ‒ The Conductor with ADHD had won the best inspirational film title at the New York International Film Awards.
The 40-minute film focuses on Okanagan Symphony Orchestra conductor Rosemary Thomson, who was diagnosed with ADHD at 56 and explored the disorder when her career was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Oh, my gosh. Ecstatic!" Richards told Sarah Penton, the host of CBC's Radio West, as she described how she felt about the award.
"Our intention is really to get the word out and talk about ADHD and neurodiversity and how to be successful being nervous in life."
WATCH | Trailer of Shiny Objects ‒ The Conductor with ADHD
Thomson, the subject of Richards's documentary, says discovering her ADHD so late was a life-changing experience.
"If you have a neurodiversity that you don't realize, you just assume everybody else thinks like you," she said. "That can be very frustrating both for me and for people who are dealing with me."
"Just understanding better how I can function in a world that's built for very neurotypical brains has been very, very deeply satisfying."
As a filmmaker, Richards says the discovery that she too has ADHD made the creative process even more meaningful.
"It became even more real and personal through the [filmmaking] process, because it actually turns out that people who like to make films and are super-creative have a higher likelihood of neurodiversity.
"The process actually helped me learn better how my own brain works and also put the tools in place, so that I could complete a film in three months for the first time," Richards said.
According to Canada's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, ADHD affects attention span, concentration and ability to control impulses, and may lead to behaviours such as frequently interrupting others' conversations, low tolerance for frustration and stubbornness. This disorder is likely genetically caused.
The documentary is scheduled to premiere in Kelowna in September.
With files from Radio West