The following is an interview with director/producer/author/scholar Linda G. Mills regarding the release of her feature film, The Rest of Us. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Mills about the shared creative process of bringing the film to life, how her work as the Executive Director of NYU’s Center on Violence and Recovery has inspired her creative endeavors, why the release of the film coincides with Mental Health Awareness Month, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of your feature film, The Rest of Us! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you share with us about the premise of this story?
Linda G. Mills: The film was created through a devising process where Ricardo Pérez González brought together a talented and diverse group of activists and actors to imagine a story. Based on the devising interactions, the incredibly gifted Laura Moss and Ricardo Pérez González wrote the script. Ultimately, The Rest of Us featured a group of students who are left behind on a college campus following several student deaths by suicide. The film takes place just after 9/11 and the themes in the film include: post-9/11 racism, resilience, and how peers can help peers in the mental health space. Given these themes, its storyline and message are incredibly timely.
BD: As a director who has focused their work on positive social change, what interested you in taking on this particular project?
LGM: I work in the area of mental health as a professor in a university setting and recognized that this story – with a diverse cast – had never been told before. There was such love and care for the story by all involved.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Amy’s story will connect with and impact viewers, especially in light of its release during Mental Health Awareness Month?
LGM: We are in a particularly vulnerable moment in this country. We are just emerging from several traumatic events and we are witnessing that impact on young people, in particular. Amy’s inspiring story is meant to encourage people to find the resilience they have by seeking help, building community and coming together to support each other.
BD: You have quite a talented cast and crew working on the production. What can you tell us about your shared creative process in bringing the film to life?
LGM: The cast and crew were amazing! The commitment of the artists to the subject matter was both universal and heartfelt. Everyone connected with the story’s collective commitment to telling a mental health story that emphasizes the resilience and strength of young people in this country.
BD: Are there any other upcoming films or projects that you would care to share with our readers?
LGM: My son, Ronnie Mills Goodrich, wrote a documentary short called No Plan A which we filmed while driving across the country during the pandemic. The film will be featured in Tribeca’s Virtual Film Festival! It is just 12 minutes – funny, poignant, and worth the watch.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about The Rest of Us and your other work as the Executive Director of NYU’s Center on Violence and Recovery?
LGM: The Rest of Us is a great tool to spark important discussions about addressing inequity in mental health, encouraging connectivity, and raising awareness about suicide prevention, with a particular focus on the needs of students of color. We encourage fans to not only watch the film, but to share this timely message and host a screening with their school, campus, or community. To learn more, please visit www.therestofusfilm.com and www.centeronviolenceandrecovery.org.