I AM NORMAL

A sane woman fakes the symptoms of a mentally unstable patient in order to be admitted into a mental institution for a secret psychiatric experiment. Inspired by the Rosenhan Experiment of 1973.

  • Olia Oparina
    Director
  • Anya Bay
    Writer
  • Anya Bay
    Producer
  • Olia Oparina
    Producer
  • Jimmy Gadd
    Producer
  • Aida Lembo
    Producer
  • Nora-Jane Noone
    Key Cast
    "Keira"
  • Saul Rubinek
    Key Cast
    "Rosenhan"
  • Susan Moore Harmon
    Key Cast
    "Nurse Ferguson"
  • Anya Bay
    Key Cast
    "Nancy"
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 40 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 1, 2020
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
    35mm
  • Aspect Ratio:
    2.39:1
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
Director Biography - Olia Oparina

Olia is an imaginative and passionate storyteller whose roots began in Siberia during the chaotic reign of the USSR. In the 90s — when political tension and uncertainty loomed overhead, Olia found salvation in fantasy as a way to escape the world around her. When her psychic grandmother introduced her to Slavic folklore at the age of eight, she instantly fell in love with the art of storytelling. She began to develop her own tales to satisfy her creativity. Inspired by Soviet Propaganda that brainwashed millions and Slavic fairytales that expose our deepest fears and beliefs, Olia has created impactful stories that provoked emotions and tapped into the human psyche.

Olia majored in Communication Studies, with a minor in Mandarin Chinese at KSTU in Russia. A year after graduation, Olia traveled westwards to Hollywood, where she enrolled in USC's MFA program with a focus in Film and TV Production. Olia later produced a feature film, “Baby Doll and directed a feature thriller "Snowbound" that was completed within 9 months and screened at the Marche Du Film during the 70th Annual Cannes Film Festival.

Olia also created several immersive theatrical shows which received recognition in the art community. Today she continues her journey as a filmmaker and content creator with a strong leadership mentality. She uses her childhood experiences, cultural knowledge, and insight into human psychology to create stories that will live on through the ages.

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Director Statement

Our well-being is only as good as our mental health. Being treated a certain way translates to a person seeing themselves that way. So we should not be quick to judge or put labels on anyone. That’s one of the main themes in “I Am Normal.” We wanted to explore it through a heartwarming friendship story similar to the one in “Girl’s Interrupted,” but with a disturbing borderline insanity theme of “The Shudder Island.” The biggest challenge was to exercise sensitivity and subtlety. We had to make sure the story did not feel advantageous of mental health illnesses but did get across the severity of the situation.