OVERDRIVE : Not your average f****** period film

by Abigail Wilson in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

OVERDRIVE : Not your average f****** period film
We did it
On 18th June 2024 we successfully raised £1,050 with 5 supporters in 28 days

Raise awareness about PMDD, advocate for PMS & PMDD, hormone health and tackle stigma around the mental & menstrual health connection.

by Abigail Wilson in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

Many women have sensitivities to their hormones. Whether it’s contraceptive pill difficulties -  from vomiting every month to blood clots and more – to debilitating mood swings or cystic hormonal acne, PCOS, endometriosis, reproductive hormonal changes and many, many more..

It’s - a ride.. But we just get on with it.

I knew I suffered from PMS like all the women in my family did, but hey, I guess they just got on with it too..Right?

But each month like clockwork 7-14 days before my period I would spiral so low in mood to the point where I questioned my entire existence.. The slow familiar descent into a foray of worry, intense overwhelm and crippling self-doubt. My mind would run rampant spirals on me, anxiety and insomnia would push me into complete overdrive. 

Then I bled, and it all vanished, like nothing ever happened. 

This was never just PMS. I would question my sanity. 

Six years ago, I learned about PMDD Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder - in other words severe PMS. It changed everything for me, challenging everything I thought I knew about my hormones - seeing most of my symptoms reflected back to me was more than just a lightbulb moment.

I began researching and what I unearthed blew my mind. Not only did I have a pivotal realisation that myself and a large proportion of women don’t understand how to harness the power of their monthly cycles for the better. But I questioned why I wasn't taught about it at school in enough detail to properly equip me and my menstruating peers with the right tools that can actually make a difference to our lives.

The gap on our health is having drastic implications. Some women with PMDD are being misdiagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and some women may experience PMDD so intensely that they are attempting suicide. Some of those are successful. 

The stigma that surrounds our hormones runs so deep. It historically connects to gender health inequality, societal beliefs and also, believe it or not - the intervening hands of Big Pharma companies. It seems everyone wants a say, and yet we’re left to.. just get on with it.

Women’s health is historically underfunded and under researched. Dr Janine Austin Clayton, an associate director for women’s health research at the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), told the New York Times that the result is: “We literally know less about every aspect of female biology compared to male biology.” 

Prior to 1993, women were not required to be included in clinical trials? Yep. This means that medical research on most conditions, illnesses, and widely prescribed medications was predominantly based on men’s bodies. ⁠

One reason women were often excluded from participating is that their hormones were thought to interfere with the results, with researchers believing that women’s menstrual cycles and hormonal fluctuations would add variability to the data and make it more difficult to draw conclusions.

We have come a long way in ensuring equal representation of all genders in medical studies however the legacy of past exclusion is still impacting women’s health today.

THE FILM

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Overdrive is a short film that represents the visceral intensity of my own menstrual cycle in a medium I know and love. I’m putting the context of my cycle in a high-speed metaphorical joyride in a car, that goes from calm - to chaos.

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For me, it's always manifested as a fight I have with myself.  I’m trying to drive and stay in control on one side, but my hormones are having none of it on the other side - relentlessly trying to veer me off course every-single-month. I’m using high-octane driving, and stunts to convey this message - It’s intense and it’s impassioned. 

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This project is deeply connected to me. It’s taken me most of my life to make sense of it. Six years on, I’ve learnt so much about how my cycle affects everything and I'm so proud to say my months are much easier to navigate now than they used to be. Whilst there are both debilitating weaknesses and powerful strengths within it, they need to be acknowledged and spoken about - stigma free. 

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I want to help push this conversation further, by encouraging a sense of body literacy amongst women in supporting their individual connection to their own mental health and hormones. Holding screenings and panel discussions that invites hormone health industry experts to share their knowledge where people can get more insights about how to support themselves and others. 

We all know someone who menstruates. 

It’s incredibly hard to get short films like this completed and any support at all will go a very long way.

We've already had support from Arts Council England but need more to get it over the (checkered) finish line.

Thank-you so much for taking the time to read this. It honestly means the world. 

Please help support our film.

Thank-you. 


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Bio 

Abigail Wilson is a writer/director and actress based in London. She trained in acting at The Poor School in London subsequently landing numerous roles across TV, film and commercials working with high profile directors such as Francis Lawrence on Red Sparrow, and Lena Dunham's HBO show Industry and Andy Wilson on Endeavour. She has been in multiple award winning commercials for creative agencies such as W+K, Adam and Eve, and BBDO to name a few.  

As a director her debut music video for Modeselektor's ‘Mean Friend’ bagged her a UKMVA win in 2021 for 'Best Dance / Electronic Music Video - Newcomer’ demonstrating her distinctive voice straight out of the gate. She followed up with another UKMVA win in 2023 for her subversive Stone video challenging perceptions of masculinity through a pseudo serious dance machine face off. She has worked with UK and US based artists and contemporary fashion institutions like Dazed and Farfetch. 

Abigail is also a coveted treatment writer working with high profile talent in the industry for over 6 years writing winning treatments for directors working with clients such as Apple, Google, Nike, Mercedes, Lancome, Thierry Mugler and many, many more.

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