"A film told through emotions.”
A look through a young woman’s struggles with scoliosis, the emotional scars it leaves on her mind and the power she discerns from finally feeling strong and healthy again.
WHITE NOISE is a cinematic, dramatic short film about a female protagonist named Dana who is struggling with chronic pain. Because she is experiencing various symptoms, and doctors take less time to communicate with their patients today, she begins to question her symptoms and whether or not they are psychosomatic... Until one doctor finally takes the time to explain her symptoms to her and their connection to her scoliosis disorder. This gives Dana confidence in herself and the healthcare system again, and the courage to tackle spinal fusion surgery.
The mission of my film:
WHITE NOISE is a creative approach towards raising awareness about scoliosis, mental health, the gravity in finding the right doctor in the healthcare industry today, the power in human connection and the weight of self-love.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), scoliosis affects between 2% and 3% Americans, or an estimated six to nine million people in the US. There are seven different forms of scoliosis, and although all forms involve some degree of spinal curvature, some are more severe than others.
There are a number of theories regarding the cause of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, which range from hormonal imbalances to asymmetric growth. Recent clinical studies have shown that certain neurotransmitter (brain chemical) imbalances are commonly found in scoliosis patients.
Because scoliosis takes place in the central nervous system, it can affect other muscles, organs and perpetuate into other chronic conditions and symptoms. It is often coupled with low grade conditions of body dysmorphia and, like many other chronic conditions and illnesses, depression.
In 2009, 145 million people — almost half of all Americans — were living with a chronic condition. It is estimated that up to one-third of individuals with a serious medical condition have symptoms of depression.
Mental health and physical health are fundamentally linked. People living with chronic physical health conditions experience depression and anxiety at twice the rate of the general population.
People who have chronic illnesses must adjust to both the illness and its treatment. The illness may affect a person’s mobility and independence, and change the way a person lives, sees him- or herself, and/or relates to others. These changes can be stressful and cause a certain amount of despair or sadness that is normal.
There is a popular saying that states, "Everything physiological, is biological". Which means that everything mental that goes on in our brains, also has a physical cause. Our physical cause has a physical treatment, which comes in various forms, depending on what you are suffering from.
According to a 2018 survey, doctors listen to their patients for 11 seconds on average, before interrupting them. According to another study, doctors spend, on average 13-16 minutes with each patient.
The 2016 Survey of America's Physicians, conducted for The Physician’s Foundation, found physicians consider patient relationships the most satisfying aspect of their practice! Conversely, patients that receive more time to discuss their healing process, leave appointments feeling more positive about their treatment and their healing process. As face time with patients shrink, it puts the physician–patient relationship, or more humanistic connection at risk, thus disestablishing trust with patient's in their healthcare professionals and their healing process.
Mary Davidson, a young woman who shared her battle with mental health in a Ted Youth Talk in 2017, explained the power of human connection simply when she stated, "all a person needs is a hand to hold and a listening ear." When a person is struggling with chronic conditions, constant doctor visits and overwhelmed with feelings of stress, anxiety and extreme sadness, the last thing they need is another person trying to fix the problem. Doctors that are able to take a few extra minutes to connect with their patients and truly listen to their symptoms, frustrations and concerns, have helped supplement trust and increased faith in the healing process. In many cases, this has prompted a quicker recovery in patients.
Additionally, a friend or family member that is able to sit with their loved one and listen to them, give them a hug or just let them know that they are there for them, rather than being another person trying to fix the problem, has found to be another significant step, in a person's recovery.
In addition to the physical and often painful struggle associated with scoliosis, those with the condition often find it hard to feel confident and comfortable in their body. We live in a world where we are constantly overwhelmed by and comparing ourselves to photoshopped, filtered and edited images on social media, in magazines, tv and film. Those who suffer from the condition, also typically struggle with self-confidence and body dysmorphia. Teenagers often are teased and bullied for their back braces and for looking different.
Surgery helps with correcting the physical, but with all physical trauma comes emotional and mental trauma which many either do not realize, or do not want to take the time to give attention and healing time to. It is just as important to heal the inside, as it is to heal the out. Self love and care is extremely important today -- a topic that is not often enough addressed, which the film brings light to.
About the filmmaker
Hi, I'm Caroline Heinle and I'm a female filmmaker. I fell in love with storytelling when I was a little girl. Any time there was an adult gathering, I reveled in the chance to perform. Sometimes it would just be a song, other times it would be a whole production. Regardless of the outcome, I loved seeing the smiles that it brought to people's faces. Art is this beautiful thing, where no matter what a person has going on in their lives, it gives each person permission to take a deep breath, stop time, cry, smile, laugh, f e e l , escape life's stresses and be reminded of the important things. It has the power to draw up those things that you still have yet to face, or comfort you while you have brave the confrontation. All this, is what my main objective of this film is, and what will continue to be, throughout my filmmaking career.
I grew up training and performing at the Papermill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ alongside Anne Hathaway then went on to study Journalism at the University of Rhode Island and University of Richmond in London. After college, I had a brief stint at Burson Marsteller, a PR firm in New York City, before moving to Los Angeles, CA where I trained with Brian Reise, Sharon Chatten, Barry Papick, John Rosenfeld and Anthony Meindl. I expanded my resume, working on several independent films, new media, commercials, and wrote and performed live sketch comedy with Sarah Tiana's Strait Jacket Society's Comedy Troupe.
After six years in Los Angeles, I moved back to the east coast to have my spine fused with Dr. Thomas Errico at NYU Langone Spine Center, in New York City. I blogged about my journey with scoliosis, which I was diagnosed with when I was fifteen, and was published in the NY Post and Daily Mail.
This film is based on that blog, my journey with scoliosis and struggles with anxiety and depression, due to my physical pain. This film is for anyone that has ever battled a chronic condition, struggled with mental health, or know someone who has. This film is a reminder to myself, and everyone else, that there is no shame in having to put your life or career goals on hold, in order to heal and take care of yourself.
This film is also "the thing" that woke me up to my purpose... as a human in society and as a filmmaker. I hope it touches you.
I'm still looking! Your contributions will go towards me hiring a director, and if there is enough money raised, an assistant, associate and/ or co-producer. Please reach out if you or someone you know is interested!
Thank you to my manager, Naomi Kolstein of the Bohemia Group, for her support, direction and advice.
Why am I seeking funding?
Check out the FAQ's tab for more information on how your donations and contributions will be spent.
Check out the rewards to the right! I put together some really fun rewards to give back to all of my "backers" - love a good pun! - congruent to the film and to my side hustle.
What is my side hustle? I've worked as a social media coordinator, run a few different social media accounts for outside businesses and offer one-on-one coaching sessions for those looking to find their voice or figure out what to post. Now, more than ever, it's imperative for businesses and performers to have a social media presence, and people are always asking me for advice. So if this is something that is bogging you down, as a thank you for your contributions, let me help you with that!
The teaser video above was directed, shot and edited by San Martin Garcia. Garcia is an NYC-based director, writer and photographer who graduated from the New York Film Academy in 2017.
Special thanks to Ashley Hearon-Smith and Clayton Tolbert for their advice and mentoring on my first production. Ashley Hearon-Smith is an actor, producer and co-host on the popular podcast Scary Mommy. Clayton Tolbert is an award winning screen writer and producer.
Extra special thanks to my family, for their continuous love and support.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this, watch the video and for your constant support! Your positive words cheering me on mean so much to me and to this story. I really do believe that this film will inspire and help so many people, and I am so happy that you are along for the ride.
If you are able to contribute to the film, my gratitude is all yours! If you are not, a share with your network of friends, family and coworkers would be extremely helpful. Either or, I cannot thank you enough!