Ingrid and the Black Hole

Ingrid and her best friend Conrad experience a lifetime of memories together when they imagine what it would be like to travel through a black hole.

Creative team

Writer/director: Leah Johnston
Producers: Leah Johnston, Walter Forsyth

Filmmaker’s statement

Ingrid and the Black Hole is a short film about time travel as a metaphor for Alzheimer’s disease.

In the story, Ingrid and her best friend, Conrad ‘travel through time,’ glimpsing various memories of their lives as they grow old together. In the end, we eventually come to learn that Ingrid is in fact an old woman with Alzheimer’s now talking to her son who she has mistaken for Conrad. She is already ‘in the black hole’ metaphorically speaking, as her confused perception of time and identity is allowing her to time-travel in her mind.

The concept, while seemingly dark, takes a hopeful spin on the subject of Alzheimer’s. As her son observes near the end of the film, “wherever Ingrid is in her mind, she’s happy” – highlighting a little acknowledged reality of the disease that, while it is painful for the family members to watch, Alzheimer’s is in many ways a blind descent into darkness for those suffering with it.

The concept of this short has been brewing in my mind for around five years, but it was only when I took on a job as a part-time caregiver to my own ailing grandmother who has Alzheimer’s that the story began to really take shape for me.

Suddenly, I wasn’t writing about some hypothetical character, I was writing about my own family and their experiences.

About Leah Johnston

Leah Johnston

Leah Johnston is an award-winning Nova Scotian filmmaker whose short films that have played at over 40 festivals worldwide and been broadcast on Air Canada flights and CBC television. She is the recipient of the NSI Online Short Film Festival Corus Fearless Female Filmmaker award and the $35K Bravofact/WIFT Pitch Prize.

Her most recent short, Ingrid and the Black Hole, played at Cannes Not Short on Talent and Fantasia, taking home numerous prizes for best short, including a sweep of the awards at Vancouver Island Film Festival (Best Picture, Best Editing, Best Screenplay, Best Technical Achievement).

Leah was recently selected by the Academy of Canadian Cinema as one of six directors across Canada to participate in the inaugural Female Directing Mentorship program.

She is a graduate of New York University, the National Screen Institute and Reykjavik Talent Lab and is represented for directing by Greenlight Management.

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