My Beautiful Broken Brain
A collaboration between Sophie Robinson, David Lynch and stroke survivor Lotje Sodderland, who self-recorded the aftermath of her own brain haemorrhage on her iPhone
Combining the rich and diverse characteristics of long form documentary formats with a unique and personal story, award-winning director and documentary maker Sophie Robinson told the story of film producer Lotje Sodderland, who woke in the middle of the night in her East London flat with a severe headache; a few hours later she would discover she was having a brain haemorrhage.
After a successful crowdsourcing campaign and film funding from The Wellcome Trust, My Beautiful Broken Brain was taken on by Netflix and turned into a Netflix Original.
An abstract brief
In hospital after her stroke, Lotje sketched an almost unintelligible picture of a horizon. She had only meet Sophie once but remembered her work on the BBC series Horizon, it was a horizon she was trying to sketch. Sophie went to meet with Lotje the day after she got out of hospital and began the first day of what would be over a year’s worth of filming.
"With something as long form as a feature documentary, we are able to connect with a story properly. Some of the world's most progressive brands are starting to see this as a very real opportunity to connect with audiences in a new and unexpected way."
Sophie used her experience of working on documentaries for broadcasters combining her long form storytelling skills with her journalistic eye to help Lotje tell her compelling story in an 80 minute film that resonated globally with a diverse audience and has been reviewed by The Guardian, The New York Times, Vogue and The Independent.
The story of a generation
"This is a story about anyone who finds their life at a totally different juncture than they expected" says Sophie Robinson.
My Beautiful Broken Brain is a story of human strength. People who have had brain injuries will sympathise with the film but our aim was to connect with everyone.
Through a rich character driven arc, the documentary shows that long form storytelling can be a compelling creative template for brands who are interested in messaging through slow-burn methods of communication.
A truly independent approach
Through a Kickstarter campaign, Sunshine raised enough funds to help make My Beautiful Broken Brain as an independent film.
After Sophie's final edit of the footage, the film was premiered at the Independent Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam where it was picked up by Netflix and then after further editing and the addition of new visual effects was re-released at SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas.
Working with cinema's biggest innovators
David Lynch came on board after Sophie and Lotje sent him an email with a link to one of Lotje’s self-made iPhone videos. To their surprise he replied with words of encouragement and praise for Lotje and the film and eventually came on board as Executive Producer.
One woman's story
My Beautiful Broken Brain is proof that by transforming a single story into a cultural narrative, brands can speak to a wider audience through abstract and thoughtful storytelling that challenges cultural norms. At Sunshine, we are storytellers, first and foremost.
"When you tell a good story, people listen to you, it's as simple as that. The more honest your story the more people you can connect with."