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Bayside resident pens feature-length film focusing on mental health

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Photo by Meagan Meehan

Lifelong Bayside resident Meagan Meehan is no stranger to the world of art and entertainment, having written numerous books, plays and films. Now, she’s looking to bring her work to an even larger audience, helping to create a Kickstarter page to raise money for a screening of her latest film, “Her Garden.”

The film was completed last December and the Kickstarter was launched Jan. 18.

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Courtesy of Christine Stoddard and Meagan Meehan

Meehan, 35, and the film’s director and narrator, Christine Stoddard, set the goal at $8,000.

“Her Garden” is a reimagining of an experimental narrative film by Tim Ashworth called “The Garden.” According to Meehan, the film explores subjects like mental illness, love and memories.

Meehan told QNS she was inspired to write the film after Stoddard showed her an old reel of footage she created while in college.

“I pretty much watched it with a completely blank state of mind,” Meehan said. “As I was watching it, certain ideas came to me. The two main things that were in the video were cityscapes and a lot of water. I love fantasy, so I would think of mermaids with water, but thought this doesn’t lend itself to a fantasy story. So how can I include mermaids with this inner city vibe? Then I thought it would be interesting to have a character in the story who was mentally ill and obsessed with mermaids and lived in an urban environment.”

The film follows a woman having trouble sleeping at 3 a.m. She starts to think about her childhood, being raised by her widowed mother in a poor urban area. It was then that she also had to look after her aunt, who was mentally ill. The lines between imagination and reality soon start to blur. She searches for stable ground amid grief and hope as she drifts in and out of sleep, consciousness, dreams and memories.

This isn’t Meehan’s first movie that she’s worked on. Last June, she had a short horror movie, “Locked,” produced. She also has another short horror film set to come out in May and a short family-friendly comedy scheduled to begin filming later this year. While she has taken part in several different artistic endeavors, screenwriting is the newest for her.

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Photo by Meagan Meehan

In addition to writing for films, Meehan is a poet, author, cartoonist and produced playwright. Additionally, she works as a freelance journalist and college-level educator. Meehan is also the founder of an art practice known as “Conscious Perceptionalism,” which prompts viewers to look at the art from 360-degree angles. She also hopes to expand her writing towards contributing to TV shows and web series.

Writing is something Meehan has been doing for a long time. She began writing her first novel when she was 19, eventually getting it published when she was 22. In total, she has written four novels, a children’s book, a collection of poetry and has a collection of short stories and two more children’s books coming out later this year. Additionally, she has 40 children’s e-books. On top of that, she’s had five plays produced.

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Photo by Meagan Meehan

“I’m very fortunate because I’ve never had to self-publish,” Meehan said. “I’ve always been able to find small publishers to work with, which has been really helpful. I love when people see my work and react to it. If my work gives people joy, then I’m happy.”

In addition to entertaining viewers, Meehan is hopeful that the statements in this film get them to think about things, as there are a lot of philosophical concepts contained within it. She wants those who see it to be intrigued and have some elements resonate with them.

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