Actress Katalina Viteri takes on mental health in her short film CAROLINA

Jesus Figueroa
Written by Jesus Figueroa

Short film “Carolina” tackles the mental health triggers those struggling to recover from abuse face.
Writer, director, actress Katalina Viteri found the subject matter of high importance.
“It was important to me to show the other side of mental health because I feel like we always hear about the press or the result of a mental health crisis, especially if it’s a celebrity or a public figure, who goes through something. But, we never hear about the other side — which is the triggers of it. It’s such a common thing these days,” Viteri said. “I also wanted to highlight trauma, alot of young girls go through all kinds of trauma, and how that affects them growing up.”
While the story was written by Viteri, her acting made the the character relatable, endearing, and at time very hard to watch.

The emotional connection the audience has with the character is established almost instantly and goes throughout the short.

Although the theme is difficult, it was a physical health issue that caused Viteri some difficulty with the project.
“I had one obstacle and it was actually a physical health issue going on. I was actually in the middle of a very serious health crisis when I shot this,” Viteri said. “I needed surgery. So I was dealing with physical pain on set. I think that motivated my performance alot because, I’m a method actor first and foremost, having to connect the emotional pain and having to draw from my own experience. I kind of used what I was physically going through to get that on screen. It weirdly helped me in an unexpected way.”
Viteri connected with her character, Carolina, as well and had figured out the journey she wanted to take her through.

This made the short have a depth that clearly is able to be seen by the end of the short, even when a short stay at the hospital was needed to resolve a health issue.
“I think I had lived with this character for so long, cause it took me a month and a half to write it, and then I took time in between to shoot it and actually go to Miami and get it done, another two months, so I think it was just there,” Viteri said. “I didn’t lose any of the focus being in the hospital because in the hospital you are kind of in isolation. So it just kind of gave me more time to think about what I wanted to do with her (character).”
After about a four-month process, Viteri was able to experience watching “Carolina” with a full theater.

The intensity of the short film was increased on a big screen with a full theater, especially as the short gets to its climax.

“I first saw it with a full audience on March 8. Honestly, it was pretty hard to watch. It was really intense and we had a sold out first show,” Viteri said. “It was 175 seats in the theater completely taken up. I kind of was almost hiding under my seat, especially during the audition scene. It was hard to watch because it was so intense and a full house around amplifies. It’s on a huge screen so it was a little intense to watch.”
Viteri will soon be on the big screen along side Bruce Willis and Megan Fox in the upcoming film “Midnight in the Switchgrass.”

Listen to the full interview below:

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