St. Louis Filmmaker Raises Awareness of Mental Health Through Filmmaking

    Jon Alexander has always had an interest in the visual arts.

    In 2011, Alexander injured his knee, leaving him with a lot of free time and a lot of creative energy, which lead to his passion for filmmaking.

    Alexander currently has numerous films under his belt, most notably CYCLE and Enough.

    CYCLE is about a young man from the inner city who witnesses something traumatic and it’s kind of life altering for him,” Alexander said. “So, he’s put on this path to try to steer away from those cycles like violence and drugs. It was really a story to de-stigmatize therapy and mental illness.”

    Alexander wrote, directed, and edited CYCLE.

    “It dives deeper than just mental health as a whole, specifically mental health with black men,” Alexander said. “It gives people a safe space. It let’s people sitting in the room look around and realize ‘I’m not the only one going through this.’”

    In Enough, where Alexander is the lead character, writer, director, and videographer, a man comes to terms with his emotionally and mentally abusive behavior.

    “You can only go so far if you’re not okay on the inside – okay emotionally and mentally,” Alexander said. “It can be a burden. It can weigh down on you. So, I want people to be the best person they can be, and the only way you can be that is if you’re okay with yourself.”

    His current film series, Nature of Sound, tells a completely different story than CYCLE or Enough.

    The series is a live musical performance, featuring artists of different practices and genres.

    “It’s an intersection of some of my favorite artists and favorite parks, where each artist performs a song in the middle of nature; far away from anything suburban or city-like,” Alexander said. “My goal is to fuse the visual beauty of nature with the pleasant sounds of live instruments, vocals and music mixes, to create a sort of euphoric experience.”

    The first of the series features Mad Keys, Tonina Saputo, and DJ Hoodbunny.

    Accompanying the Nature of Sound series will be a two-day venture: a live screening of the project, and a group hike. The goal of the series is to get people outdoors, familiar with the vibrant local music scene, and more in tune with nature.

    Alexander will kick off the two-day venture by hosting a hike led by Outdoor Afro at Perre Marquette Park, followed by the screening of the film at Cherokee Yoga.

    You can sign up for the hike and/or screening, here.

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