Synopsis: Through flashes of memory she often mistakes for dreams, Ella is relearning her history piece by piece, including the pieces she would have rather left in the dark.
Directed by: Caridad Cole
Starring: Caroline Petty, Liz Boyd, Kevin Hickey
Advisors: Ben Coonley and Kelly Reichardt
More information on IMDb.
“Head Spaces” is the senior film thesis of Caridad Cole, originally screened at the Jim Ottaway Jr. Theater at Bard College in May 2017. Filmed on both 35mm film and digital. 
Artist statement below.
Head Spaces follows the non-linear journey of a young woman, Ella, who wakes up one day and is told she has suffered memory loss. Through flashes of memory she often mistakes for dreams, Ella relearns her history piece by piece. Each memory comes with a strong emotional response: surprise, relief, anger, fear, frustration, confusion. For much of the film, she can’t discern the past from the present, or what’s real from what she wants to be real. As far as her actual memory goes, she feels as if she has never experienced anything before, and yet there are triggers and physical cues from the people and things around her that tell her otherwise. This internal struggle leaves Ella feeling split, like a stranger in her own body.
Head Spaces focuses on Ella’s feelings, on her own internal process, rather than on how others perceive the situation. In an earlier edit of the film, there was more focus on her family and the time it took for her to heal, which I felt was an unnecessary pressure on the main character. I realized that what she was going through internally was going to be far more powerful than how much her family was worrying about her. From the beginning, we know that Ella’s condition isn’t permanent; she just needs to relearn things. She doesn’t need to know the medical jargon. She doesn’t even need to be so aware of how many days are passing. Her job is to isolate the “islands of memory” she has from what she thinks are dreams. This is how she heals. By ditching the external story and zeroing in on Ella’s mind, I made a short film that crosses somewhere between narrative and experimental, and creates a more realistic picture of a mental fight that might otherwise be unimaginable.