When Chris Kamm was young, he spent a lot of time documenting what he saw and sharing it with the world.
The 19-year-old filmmaker and videographer has created hours of footage, takes, landscapes and short films to share on platforms like YouTube and Instagram.
In the spring of my senior year at Sonoma Academy in 2021, I learned that I had not been admitted to my dream film program at Chapman University in Orange, California. Short clips of him on various platforms.
he applied again.
This time he boarded.
But last June, after months of filming client projects, including a YouTube couple swimming in Alcatraz Island and documenting a project to rebuild a ghost town east of Mount Whitney, Cam was all about it. She says she had a panic attack that changed her life.
“I had it at the store, shout Sports Basement,” he said with a slightly dark laugh.
He was shy about moving south for college. He said he was having a hard time. His social media presence, the lifeblood of his burgeoning business, has slowed.
Still, the images he posted showed a smiling cam hiking, filming, and roasting marshmallows.
He put on a brave face for the world.
But quietly, behind these carefully crafted things he did, things were “dangerous” for him.
“Actually, I was still in pain,” he said. “It was like, ‘Damn, why can’t you enjoy this?’ That was a lot of summer.”
He started seeing a therapist. He was diagnosed with panic disorder.
Anxiety did not subside.
As such, Cam was not alone.
Kam is one of a cohort of students who have spent half their high school careers doing distance learning during the pandemic.
What my friends and classmates put out into the world could only be seen through the lens of social media or through a small square of the screen via zoom.
Perhaps more than any other age group, there are real reasons why children are struggling with their mental health throughout the pandemic.
A 2021 survey of more than 18,000 students in grades 3 through 12 in Sonoma County found that up to 70% of high school respondents and 50% of middle school students cite “depression, stress, or anxiety” as their primary barrier to learning. I feel uneasy,” he reports.
The pandemic and the isolation that comes with it place so much weight on those who are or are not showing the world via social media.
Cam had a hard time as the day approached for him to go to college. Things didn’t come together mentally.
So he decided to postpone for a year.
His decision to postpone school for another year added another layer to his anxiety.
“I didn’t feel like I totally failed, but I was pretty down on myself,” he said. was hard.”
His friends had moved on with their college experience.
He saw it all on social media.
“It was like I was on one side of the river and everyone else was on the other side,” he said.
My therapist recommended putting myself in situations that could cause anxiety as a way to release myself, and I learned coping skills to get out of the moment.
“You do exposure to control the brain’s response,” he said.
“I stood on the pillow area behind the target and hyperventilated for a minute,” he said.
The treatment, he said, “wasn’t supposed to last forever.”
He was told, “You’d better handle this yourself.”
So he came up with ‘The 30 Project’.
In September, I went out every day and took landscape photos. The idea was to make the trip to each photography setting a kind of field trip. Every day he is far from home, which can potentially lead to discomfort.
When he finished, he turned 30 photos into a 24 minute short film in 30 days. This will be screened for his friends and family at Summerfield Cinemas on Friday. He named it “The 30 Project”.
In it, he talks about his anxieties, fears, and his return to the light of the day.
When I posted a trailer for the project on Instagram, the response was immediate.
He had almost as many supportive (and know-it-all) comments as likes.
“If people react that way only to a post announcing the movie, what is the movie itself going to do?” he said.