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My Sister and ADHD: navigating the changes of growing up together

Sisters Emily and Isabel were close growing up, then Isabel got diagnosed with ADHD. Emily was the director of this video. Here she shares her inspiration for the film:

Tell us about the film you’ve made, what is it about?

When you google ADHD documentary the first videos that come up are about bad behaved boys and loud kids. I couldn’t find a single video about girls or teenagers. By having a teenage sister with ADHD I knew I wanted to change the stereotype and shine a light on what it’s truly like to have ADHD as you grow older. My documentary is a journey of mine and my sister’s relationship. It was a struggle with the initial diagnosis and the medication and our strong bond broke. Throughout the film, you’ll see us discuss what we felt when she was diagnosed and what changed.

Why did you want to make this film? What did you want to say about ADHD?

Most people dislike change and when it comes so close to home it can be a shock. I wanted to make this film to show a different side to ADHD. As much as it is hard for the person diagnosed, it affects the people who surround them. It was a struggle for me and my mum and I hope this documentary shows other families that they’re not alone. I also wanted to also break the stereotype of ADHD. As much as the story follows our sisterly relationship, I wanted Isabel to tell us what it’s like to have ADHD, expressed in her own way without any doctors’ opinions.

What was it like making the film and working with your sister? And also working with others about something personal to you and your family?

I was so lucky to work with an amazing crew. There were no problems during the production as everyone was just as passionate as I was. It was also a great opportunity to be able to share my sister’s story. She was very comfortable around the crew and very articulate in how she presented herself and spoke on camera. The making of this documentary actually brought me and my sister closer together as we learned more about how we felt.

Watching the film now how do you feel?

I am so proud of our final film! I was shocked to see how my initial idea had changed into a narrative touching documentary about my relationship with my sister.

What’s next for you?

I really hope to make more films in the future. I would love to expand my knowledge of directing into dramas or longer feature films. I’d love to make this into a mini series where I break stereotypes of OCD, bipolar and other mental health conditions. I’m currently working on a music video and an adaption movie. I’m going to keep making movies as it’s what I’m passionate about!

Director: Emily Lunson
Producer: Nina Sin-Fai-Lam
Camera: Hannah Hier, Joe Varney, Martha Langley-Smith and Tom Gray
Sound: Eloise Vickers
Music Composer: Eloise Vickers
BFI Film Academy Mentor: Bex Rose

This documentary was made by young people on the BFI Film Academy programme and delivered by Watershed.