“Laid to Rest” (EXCLUSIVE) Interview with Isabelle Pandora Byrne

2023 October 4

“Laid to Rest” (EXCLUSIVE) Interview with Isabelle Pandora Byrne

Who is Isabelle Pandora Byrne?

I am a published poet and mixed media artist from Manchester, U.K. My work focuses upon ruined identity and mental illness recovery. 

-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

My writing is what inspires my films. I started writing when my mental health declined I began to write about my experiences of hospitalisation and my experience of electro convulsive therapy at aged 26. Last year at aged 29 I had my debut poetry collection published and began combining my love for film to create visual poetry. 

As many people I found validation in the alternative narrative international film and art house cinema has always explored. The French new wave, the  nihilist nature that is explored and the everyday ideology it questioned. I was so invested in film being a way to see the world as someone else and made the ugly parts of life tolerable. That film taught me how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It became a tool to question my social conditioning and to distant myself from the discord of what I was and what I shouldn’t be. I, like many other artist are constantly looking for answers wether it be in art, music, literature or film. We begin to align ourselves with the freedom of a creative brain, a brain that needs to be fed with possibilities of what could be different and holds the power of being an observer. It brings a feeling of control to our own lives and stories. 

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

I think cinema has already changed society so much so that it has and still is used as a tool to change the norm. Cinema has on so many occasions changed the way we see, it has the power to question, it has the power to alter the narrative, to highlight areas of everyday life that are bound in subjectivity. That the more diverse our societies have become can very much be seen within the art world. A place where normality and reality is bent and moulded into something more fitting as the world around us expands. That human right movements have long used the medium of film to express the inadequacy and the areas shadowed in outdated ways. 

-What would you change in the world?

Freedom of expression should be celebrated and protected. That equality comes from listening and learning from others. That film has the power to transform every viewer into an empath to those you have never met and may never meet. Film has the power to turn our gaze and alter our perspective in such a powerful way. Someone of the artist I find most inspiring are those who deal with the taboo and darker sides of life. I hope that my work can offer an alternative vision on societal issues, identity crisis and mental health. The stigma around mental illness it’s past, present and future and how those in recovery see themselves.

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

I hope film continues to be used as a tool to bring positive change, to continue to diversify and expand the voices it gives power to. That freedom should always win over censorship. Film needs to be protected as a form of expression and an important way of challenging what we know to be true.