A sudden increase in diagnoses of ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder) in children, as reported by the General Directorate of Health in 2015, gave rise to a flood of news on the issue, which is how we came to be more acquainted with the subject. As we began to discuss and research this topic, we understood the relevance of making a movie based on our concerns. Beyond the significant proliferation of this disorder in recent years,and the fact that the use of drugs (such as: Ritalin, Rubifen and Concerta) for its treatment has increased, other questions came about. After all, we are talking about children, who, with a natural curiosity, feel an immeasurable thirst to discover the world that they live in. And over-medication has several risks, such as not letting you feel / live freely, learn to deal with your emotions, or understand the world in a healthy way.
There are many theories that in one moment seem to defend, but then argue against the use of drugs in the treatment of ADHD. We were more concerned with: the importance and the size of the pharmaceutical industry; overmedication of children during their infancy; what effects this will have on a new generation of adults; how many of these children will grow up to be adults free of medications that help them to live the daily life that society imposes on them, and if they will have learned to deal with their emotions in a healthy way. The truth is that Leon Eisenberg (1922 – 2009), the American child psychiatrist who gave a scientific basis for ADHD, cautioned against the overdiagnosis of the disease, highlighting social and human causes as the basis of child behavioral problems. However, as a society, there seems to be a need to label and catalog the human being. This is what makes us more efficient, less complex, right?
However, drawing attention to the fact that there is a strange and exaggerated number of children diagnosed with this disorder, we developed this project to present our conclusions on the subject, addressing behaviors and emotions that have been demonstrated to us throughout our experience of field research. Three Comma Fourteen is a project developed to give rise to the realization of an animated short documentary film, this being one of several projects that we have developed as a pair. As authors, we are motivated to utilize an audiovisual language to address divisive, contemporary social issues, which we care about, because metaphor allows us to schematize concepts and convey emotions that push the audience to debate and to search for answers. When deciding on how to approach the theme of ADHD, we chose to organize art workshops in different primary schools, in the Porto area, in order to get closer to the social context, school and children. This film proposal is the culmination of our experience as educators, and as observers of this reality.
Three Comma Fourteen will last for about 8 minutes, and will use a mixture of different techniques. If the theme is challenging in itself, we want the same challenge to motivate us at the technical level. It is a passion for sculpture that guided our decision to use stop-motion animation as a key technique in the production of this film. Additionally, the experiences we have had over the last three years in leading animation workshops with children has opened the way for us to explore the expressive power of two-dimensional animation with younger children. As such, in this production we decided to combine the two techniques, stop-motion and 2D animation, involving puppets, which have a connection to toys, and painting, which leads us to an imaginary world.
With this short film we intend to bring our questions to the public, and to turn their attention to the debate over an issue that seems to have lost its importance due to such a surplus of coverage. We realize more and more the importance of stopping to feel and think about where we are; it is an essential action in life and one that mediates our decisions.However, the fast pace of our days gives us back precious little time, and so we develop a more automated lifestyle, which leads us to a false sense of having true agency. We hope this short film will serve as an invitation to the audience to take a break of just over eight minutes, and a motiveto reflect on, and debate, the theme, whether with family, at school, or between friends. Somewhat like Pronto, era assim [Right, it was like that(2015)], we want to bring people, in a relaxed way, a topic that we care about and present it from another perspective. It is not intended to offer an answer, but to raise questions about what concerns us. We think of the film, not as a closed result, but as an object of initiation that incites questions, inquiry, and a search for answers.
Esta é a viagem pelo seu universo diário, uma sufocante sucessão de aulas e de eventos cíclicos.