Sometimes dealing with personal pain can make for the best inspiration.
At least that’s what Capital Region filmmaker Bobby Chase has found with his latest short film, “Dementia.”
The film, which premieres Saturday at the Adirondack Film Festival, follows a brother and sister, Kevin and Erin, struggling to get through to their father, who is in the late stages of dementia.
It echoes a struggle Chase went through a few years ago with his grandmother. After being diagnosed with Alzheimer's and placed in a nursing home, her memory and personality began to change. She would scream obscenities, which she’d never done before, and she began to forget some of her family members, said Chase.
It was a rough period and it became more difficult to visit her as time wore on. Chase was dealing with all this after filming “Jacob,” which told the story of his brother’s suicide.
“It was after I dealt with ‘Jacob,’ which did pretty well, and it was my frustration of there I was speaking to a gravestone, where obviously they can’t talk back to you. Then the same thing with people who are in a coma and in this case somebody who's in the final stages of Alzheimer's who can’t really communicate,” Chase said.
Frustrating as it was, Chase couldn’t help but find the humor in the situation.
“When you’re there it’s really sad, and then when you come home and you retell the stories, it’s kind of funny,” Chase said.
That’s exactly what he brought to “Dementia,” which was filmed in Whitehall and Stillwater. As Kevin (played by Daniel B. Martin) is struggling to talk with his father about his recent diagnosis of depression, he becomes angry when his father doesn’t seem to recognize him and can’t understand him.
After a few prompting texts from Erin (played by Sarah Wasserbach), he tries recreating an embarrassing moment from his childhood in an attempt to get through to his dad (played by Ken Goldfarb). His sister later joins in, and the film ends on a humorous note.
“That’s just how I deal with life in general. If I don’t look at things that way, I would go insane,” Chase said.
“Dementia” will premiere at 2:15 p.m. Saturday during the I Love NY block of the Adirondack Film Festival. It’s not the first time Chase has been a part of the Glens Falls festival, “Jacob” was shown there, as was his 2016 film “Test Drive Surprise.”
The Festival kicks off at 7 tonight with a screening of James Franco’s “Pretenders” in the Wood Theater. It continues through Sunday, with both local and national films, along with a panel and other special events. Films will be screened at four venues including the Charles R. Wood Theater, Crandall Library, Queensbury Hotel and Park Theater.
“I’ve been to a couple [festivals] out in California and this is one of the better ones. They get a great audience, all local people. It feels like the Sundance [festival] because they have all the venues [close together],” Chase said.
Some attend simply to enjoy the films. Others, like Chase, go to garner inspiration and ideas for their next project. The festival also offers panels and short films that local filmmakers wouldn’t otherwise find in the area, said Chase.
This year, the festival will feature a stunt panel on Saturday with Cheryl Lewis (of “Orange is the New Black”), Becca GT (from “Russian Doll”), Grant Koo and Alexa Marcigliano (of “Broad City,” “Jessica Jones” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”).
There will also be a screening of “How to Tell a True Immigrant Story,” a participatory, 360-degree virtual reality film that brings together the experiences of those in the immigrant community in Saratoga Springs. The group screening will be held at 5:45 p.m. Saturday at the Wood Theater Cabaret.
For the full schedule and more information about the festival, visit adkfilmfestival.org.