Not all feature filmmakers get invited to the fancy industry roundtables, but don’t be quick to discount their work. Some of the independent and foreign productions merit a closer look, like Signe Baumane’s micro-budget American/Latvian co-production Rocks in My Pockets, which qualifies as the gutsiest animated story of this Oscar season.
For her story about depression, she used events from her personal life and the lives of those around her as inspiration, including the death of a grandmother “under mysterious circumstances,” suicides of three cousins, and her own attempted suicide as a teenager. She’s also probably the only filmmaker who managed to offend her own relatives with the animation she created, as she recounted to Vice:
“They were upset—I’m actually pretty sure they still are. When the film premiered in Latvia in August, 600 people came to the premiere and 60 of them were my relatives. The younger generation were like, Oh my God we finally understand ourselves. The rest of them weren’t as impressed with me outing our family’s dirty laundry. On the other hand, everyone else who was at the premiere and did not share my genes came and said to me, ‘It’s like you are telling my story—that’s my family.’ Every single family has been through cases of mental illness.”
See Also: Film Review: Rocks in My Pockets