The Hero’s Journey to the Third Pole – A Bipolar Musical Documentary With Elephants
In Nepal, just as in Iceland, there is great prejudice towards mental illness, and the shame to carry such illness has resulted in a way to many deaths. Mentally ill people avoid seeking assistance but isolate themselves out of fear of exclusion from the community.
In the documentary, The Hero´s Journey to the Third Pole, mental health issues are addressed poetically, but the documentary follows the Icelandic musician Högni Egilsson to Nepal, where he participates in a concert organized to raise awareness about Mental Health issues. Anna Tara Edwards, an Icelandic/English woman who was raised in Nepal, organized the concert. She grew up in Nepal, a childhood that was on the surface adventures and magic, but underneath her whole family history was affected by her mom´s bipolar disorder, and later her own mental health issues.
The documentary is about this unusual concert tour, but also about Högni´s and Anna´s tour through life with their mental illness. With Högni´s unique music in the background we travel with them through jungles, mountain roads, monasteries, countryside and Nepal’s cities, where they openly discuss their mental illnesses. Grief and shame are part of their experience, but also hope, optimism and positive experience of the resources available today to tackle their illness. In this unusual adventure Högni and Anna team up with Nepalese people and fight the silence surrounding mental health issues and challenge the shame.
It is a story about a journey, an unexpected friendship, and a frank and open discussion about what it means to have a mental illness. The documentary is thus not only an unusual and beautiful art piece about one of the best musician and artist in Iceland but also a worthy contribution to the awareness-raising of the importance of increasing tolerance towards mental health issues.
Aurora Foundation contributed to the funding of the documentary.
Director/Script: Andri Snær Magnason and Anní Ólafsdóttir
Production: Elsku Rut, Ground Control Productions, Ursus Parvus, Andri Snær Magnason,Halldóra Þorláksdóttir, Hlín Jóhannesdóttir and Sigurður Gísli Pálmason
Music: Högni Egilsson
Cinematography: Anní Ólafsdóttir and Eiríkur Ingi Böðvarsson
Editor: Eva Lind Höskuldsdóttir, Anní Ólafsdóttir and Davíð Alexander Corno