Filmmaker Jonathan Caouette says his new film Walk Away Renee was intended to create more empathy for people suffering with mental illness.
Caouette earned raves for Tarnation, his searing 2003 documentary which detailed his growing up with a schizophrenic mother. His new film picks up where the first one left off and he again offers unfiltered insight into what remains a very challenging relationship, particularly when the two are forced to take a road trip after Caouette retrieves his mother from a neglectful nursing home.
"The film for me is one that was made out of pure happenstance and sheer circumstance, unlike the first film," Caouette tells The Advocate. "Tarnation that was created out of a sense of urgency and catharsis. I often jokingly refer to this film as an opulent DVD extra for Tarnation."
Caouette says this will be the final film about this unique mother-son bond, and he plans to move in a completely different direction for his next project. Still the filmmaker hopes his current film will have an impact on its intended audience. "[It] was created to hopefully allow people to have more empathy for people with mental illnesses," he shares.
Walk Away Renee will be screened at L.A.'s DGA Theatre tonight at 9:45 p.m. and at L.A.'s REDCAT July 21 at 5 p.m. The film can also be watched at SundanceNow. For more information go to Outfest.org. Watch a clip from the film below.