NOTE: This free version of Perfection is available for individual use. Educational Institutions, Clinics, Hospitals, and Rehabilitation Programs in English speaking countries: please purchase "Self Inflicted" through Human Relations Media where you will also receive a teacher’s resource book, student handouts and pre/post tests in digital format. If you would like to book a screening, please contact me through the "Contact Me" tab.
please cite if used for reference:
Perfection. Dir. Zinn Monica. Perf. Cheryl Hunsberger. Human Relations Media, 2011. Online: www.monicazinn.com/perfection.
"One confession: I don't want to confess to anything. I don't want to confess my secrets because they're supposed to be mine." A young woman fiercely protective of her secrets opens up in this award-winning documentary examining eating disorders in young women. Since its release in 2011, Perfection has been screened around the world, winning "Best Documentary" at the Virginia Student Film Festival in 2012, and is now being distributed by Human Relations Media to educational institutions worldwide.
Perfection is powerful. It is an intimate, raw, and compelling portrait of a subject people far too often overlook, discredit, or forget about. A wonderful film that I personally found incredibly moving."
Samantha Dols, Senior Director of Operations - Washington West Film Festival
The title reflects the core underlying cause of most eating disorders. In this film, Shannon, Steph, and Colleen talk to the camera about their disease: how they control their weight, the need to be perfect, food as an obsession, and their need for controlling everything in their lives, not just eating. This may seem like 21 minutes of the same thing, but their stories are different enough, and the director of the film has established an effortless flow back and forth among the girls.In addition, a social worker who works with clients with eating disorders appears and gives authoritative background on the disororders, including depression and addiction, which also come into play. In several segments, the story that the social worker tells about a particular patient is dramatized.
Later in the film, graphics show the treatment each girl received. They talk about what happened to them during and after treatment, including one’s brief struggle with drugs and the pregnancy of another. As the film ends, quotes by each are shown next to film of the three of them talking to each other.
Although the director was only 17 years old when she made this film, the movie is highly professional. Background music is unobtrusive but adds to the story. Visuals are interesting and hold the viewer’s attention. The film should appeal to adolescents, and would be most appropriate for junior high and senior high media centers. Counselors and health teachers may also want to use for classes and discussion. College classes in psychology or education of counselors may also see value in showing this to their students.
- Mary Northrup, Educational Media Reviews Online
Differing from most of the distributors films, this production was created for students by students. Each of the three young women featured describes and acts out her real-life eating or food disorder. The young women, Shannon, Steph, and Colleen, are all friends with director Monica Zinn, who made this documentary at the age of 17 in 2011. At the end of the film, viewers learn that although each was seriously affected by her behaviors (which include not eating, using diet pills and other pharmaceuticals, and bingeing and purging), all are recovering and pursuing successful lives. Expert testimony is delivered by social worker Cheryl Hunsberger, who describes one common symptom to eating disorders: the desire to control the size of one's body. The authenticity of the presentations was undoubtedly a factor in this film willing the best documentary award at the Virginia Student Film Festival in 2012. Viewers will feel as though candid and thoughtful guest speakers have come to address a class.
- Ann Weber, Bellarmine College Preparatory, San Jose, CA.
Official Selection - Culture Unplugged Online Film Festival 2016
Winner - "Best Documentary Film" - Competitive Shorts Category
Virginia Student Film Festival 2012
Official Selection - Albany Film Festival 2012
Official Selection - West Chester International Short Film Festival 2012
Official Selection - The Lovett High School Film Festival 2012
Official Selection - Santa Cruz Film Festival 2012
Official Selection - Fear No Film Festival - Utah Arts Festival 2012
Official Selection - Santa Monica Teen Film Festival 2012
Hello, I’m Monica Zinn, Director of the film you’re about to watch, entitled “Perfection,” which is a sort of mirage that looks like a realistic end goal for some people, including many people who suffer with some form of an eating disorder. Even though I made this film over four years ago, I’m still so pleased to be able to attend events like these, hosted by groups such as Active Minds, who are truly dedicated to unraveling the stigma attached to mental illness. I am especially pleased and honored to have Shannon and Steph with me today, who are both in the film, and who have remained people I constantly admire and am blessed to call my friends. Ever since I started working on this film I have been a changed person, someone who is interested in the way the stories we tell ourselves and each other shape us, and even more interested in finding ways to see people as they are, and not just as something I’ve been told that they are. It’s something I work on every day in my personal life, and am dedicated to helping other people do in my professional life. Needless to say, Perfection was the first step in a long journey for me, that I am both excited and terrified to continue on. But that’s good, fear is good. Being uncomfortable is good. Because a lot of the time our comfort zone is the only thing holding us back from truly listening, from truly caring, and sometimes stepping out of our comfort zone can be the first step to truly opening our minds, and our hearts, to the complex realities around us, and that makes us better people.