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Painted Brain | Franceska Rolda
We're bridging communities and changing the conversation about mental illness using arts and media.
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Franceska Rolda

They May Be
Writer, Director & Producer

After graduating with my BA in sociology, I served as an AmeriCorps member for City Year Los Angeles in the Boyle Heights area. After my year of service, I became a fifth-grade teacher for Villa Soleada Bilingual school through the non-profit organization, Students Helping Honduras. After realizing I wanted to continue focusing on the relational aspect with youth, I attended USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Currently, I am a Clinician for Hathaway Sycamores Child and Family Services working with at-risk youth while pursuing my licensure for social work.

The inspiration behind this documentary came from my own personal experiences with mental health. Most recently, I was admitted into a psychiatric hospital in my last semester of graduate school. There, I experienced some of my most challenging days, where the feelings of isolation became immense and whatever light guided me diminished. Thankfully, I found support through close friends who continuously showed me that I was ok just as I was. Once I saw myself for all of my said imperfections and flaws, I began to accept all parts of me. When I began to share my story and experiences I learned of so many others who had similar stories and struggles. I firmly believe that as a community these struggles need to be shared to show that no one has to be or feel alone. That it is ok to be vulnerable. This documentary speaks to those who balance so many things on their plates, to those who show up every day no matter how badly their lives seem to be falling apart, and to those who have ever felt alone in their struggles.

I am thankful to Prof. Angulo for developing the Social Work and Film class where I was able to turn this project into a reality. To my team, Allison Peters, and Kevin Manh as without them none of this would be possible. To the individuals who shared their stories through this documentary, thank you for being vulnerable and taking a chance. Finally, to those who have supported this project since day one and those who are watching it for the first time, thank you.