Epilepsy and electricity
Our digital marketing officer, Carl Charlesworth, went to the premiere of the film Electricity on 18 October at the Vue cinema in Islington, London. Electricity is the powerful story of a young woman's struggle to find her long lost brother while coping with uncontrolled seizures.
"After hearing I had a ticket to attend the premiere of Electricity, I felt elated at the chance to see firsthand what Ray Robinson's first novel about epilepsy would look like on the big screen. I also knew I had a lot to look forward to - Agyness Deyn's first leading role, actor Christian Cooke (who I thought was great in one of my favourite films Cemetery Junction) and the opportunity to experience one of the first films to include a main character who has epilepsy.
I arrived to the hustle and bustle of Upper Street and headed for the Vue cinema in Islington. I'd recently read Ray Robinson's debut novel Electricity, which was both an intimate and candid portrayal of epilepsy, as well as a rollicking read. I absolutely loved it. I hoped the film would capture the essence of the book while showing the impact that epilepsy can have on a person, both emotionally and physically.
Then it was time to take my seat. I'd already devoured my popcorn before the film had even begun, which is tradition when I go to the cinema, and I was excited to catch Epilepsy Society being mentioned in the title sequence.
The most honest and real depiction of epilepsy on film
After I had wandered out of the dark cinema, blinking from the bright hallway lights, I felt a sense that I'd watched something that would stay in my head for a while. Throughout the film Lily O’Connor feels held back by her regular seizures, these electrical storms in her mind and body that play havoc with even the simplest social scenario. For 90 minutes I felt like this is what it would be like to have epilepsy; the experience of living a constantly medicated life and the loss of control you can feel from having epilepsy. It was very clear that Epilepsy Society had worked with Stone City Films on Electricity, advising on the representation of seizures and the impact that they can have on a person's life. The finished article was as real as epilepsy has ever been on the big screen.
Q&A session with Director Bryn Higgins and producer Clare Duggan
Following the screening Director Bryn Higgins and producer Clare Duggan had a Q&A session with the audience. Bryn Higgins stressed the importance of using epilepsy experts so Agyness Deyn's depiction of epilepsy was as honest and real as they could make it.
During the walk back to the train station on my way home, I thought about how proud I am of the work we're doing at Epilepsy Society. We're able to witness firsthand how the changes and improvements from our work at the Chalfont Centre in Buckinghamshire can benefit people exactly like Electricity's Lily. I hear from people with epilepsy through Facebook and Twitter who feel empowered by our support, care and advice."