A film campaign changing perceptions of mental illness through dance

Welcome, Friend!

My name is Daniel Northway-Frank, producer on a new dance film called RUPTURA. Directed by award-winning dance film director Alejandro Valbuena, we are hoping you'll support our fundraising campaign to create a film that artistically challenges and explores issues of mental illness, cross-cultural interaction and the fear and guilt fueled by its external perceptions.

The Film

Revolving around the relationship between a Mozambican man (João) and a Japanese woman (Haruka), RUPTURA is a 9 minute narrative and contemporary dance film about a love affair that begins in harmony and ends on a precipice of solitude and ostracism due the secrecy -- and fear of misunderstanding -- of an unspoken mental condition.

Starting in the present, the morning after an argument, in what is a slowly deteriorating relationship, the frustration of
João finds solace through flashbacks to his and Haruka's romantic beginnings at a concert wrap party, their connection and flourishing of passion for one another. Through emotive dance choreography and expressions of new friendship, their bond grows. But as they commit further to their relationship, a slow uneasiness begins to weigh on Haruka and her history of depression, threatening her emotional attachment to João. Through visual metaphor, Haruka is weighed down in daily interactions with her lover by these insecurities and silence, but to João it is an increasing fragility of emotional state directed at him without explanation.

At the height of her stress, Haruka has a dark episodic spell. Instigated through the internal collapse of confidence and control of her mental state due to her reluctance of honesty to
João, Haruka is challenged by a dark force in her hallucination. But her lashing out in this nightmare is, in reality, a physical affliction to João. Under desperate concern and fear of her unknown, he calls a paramedic to help his love. In her delusionary battle with her mental tormenter, Haruka lashes out into the darkness. When she arises from her state, she sees João, injured. The impact of her silence is an epiphany to her. As João is taken away for treatment, Haruka is left with a difficult decision to save what is most important to her.

Told with a sensitive treatment, emotive movement, striking imagery and nuanced cinematography, our talented team of artists and dancers are dedicated to creating a high-calibre work that will touch and challenge viewers to look their own judgements and prejudices towards mental health.

Why RUPTURA Matters

We believe that now is the time to make this film and its impact can be far-reaching; Attitudes of mental illness are changing, and tackling perceptions of mental illness through film, interpretive dance and cultural dichotomy is new voice to what has been until very recently a taboo, stigmatized topic, and stereotypically presented perspective of those afflicted and affected by mental illness.

We are passionate about this issue and hope through our artistic interpretation this film can be part of a new dialogue for our families, friends and communities challenged by ignorance and secrecy on an issue that impacts us all in some way.

Without your support and the creation of this work, audiences will continue to have a narrow perspective and understanding of the effects of silence surrounding mental illness. Those who we love and care for will continue suffering from prejudice within their culture and community. We hope you will support our efforts to be an artistic catalyst in opening the landscape of dialogue and understanding for this important cause.

The Filmmakers and Artists

Alejandro Valbuena (Director, Co-Producer)

Born in Colombia, Amerindian mutt filmmaker Alejandro Valbuena moved to Canada at the end of the century, an abundance of professional projects already under his belt. Valbuena quickly became a member of the Director’s Guild of Canada and worked as a 1st Assistant Director in a number of films, TV series and M.O.Ws. Alejandro’s filmmaking has been awarded support by the B.C. Arts Council, Bravo!FACT, the Greenlight Fund, and the Ontario Arts Council. His work has been screened at numerous festivals including: NY-DFA, Clermont-Ferrand, Oberhausen, London IFF, Dance West, Basel IFF, Sapporo IFF and Vancouver IFF, Toronto’s Inside Out, Lisbon’s InShadow and recently received awards at imagineNATIVE and AluCine. His film, Burnt, was programmed on all Air Canada flights, and was included at the prestigious Smithsonian Museum. Additional career highlights include working with Deepa Mehta, and Don McKellar. Fiction work includes include Marietta & the Design of The New Angels and Barrio Shots, which was short-listed for The Walrus magazine’s annual SLS competition. His plays include Marietta (Phoenix Theatre, Victoria), Solita y Martirio and Camila's Bones, which will be in Alameda Theatre’s De Colores festival this year. Alejandro has been invited to attend the Hi-Rez New Media Intensive at the Banff Centre in March 2012.

Daniel Northway-Frank (Producer, Art Director) is the Programming + Industry Manager at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, the largest festival in the world showcasing film, video, radio and new media works by Indigenous artists. Daniel has worked at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival and in commercial post-production management at Technicolor Creative Services. Daniel completed his BFA in Film Studies at RyersonUniversity in 2002. Film credits include Blood Curtain (2011) and supporting roles on Marjorie (2008) and Hard Core Lego (2008).

Ugai Yui (Actor, Dancer) was born in Hiroshima, Japan, majoring in drama at high school and dance and music at KobeUniversity. She in danced Toru Shimazaki’s contemporary dance works: Patch Work, Here We Are, and Run. Her career stared as an actress in the films “Summer Days,” directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi and worked with a Hollywood casting director, Yoko Narahashi. Under professional ballet training at the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) by training Owen Montague and Joannes H. Nuyts, Yui was awarded a dance excellent prize by the magazine Dance Dance Dance(DDD) in 2008. Since then, Ugai has worked with many choreographers and directors including: Graham Mckelvie(TDT), Naoko Murakoshi(TDT), Jamea Walaki, John Mineo, Yoko Narahashi and Osamu Deguchi. Currently, Ugai is completing her MFA program in Dance and Choreography at YorkUniversity.


Pulga Muchochoma (Actor, Dancer) was born in Quelimane, Mozambique, where he began his dance training and career with Montes Namuli Dance Company. In 2006 he came to Toronto with Montes Namuli / Shakespeare Link canada for the International AIDS Conference, and performed in several shows at venues around Toronto. When Montes Namuli returned to Mozambique, Mr. Muchochoma stayed in Toronto to study at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. While there, he had a chance to work with many choreographers including Massimo Agostinelli, Peggy Baker, Peter Chin, Danny Grossman, D.A.Hoskins, Sasha Ivanochko, James Kudelka, Coralee McLaren, Sharon Moore, Darryl Tracy and William Yong. In 2010/2011 season he joined the Dora Mavor Award as jury in the dance section. Muchochoma is going to his third season working with the company of Toronto Dance Theatre.

Javier Asencio (Composer) is a pianist and composer passionate about the universe of music and sound. He studied composition and interpretation as well as sound design and musical production with Ricardo Dal Farra, Roque de Pedro, Ernesto Jodos, Susana Kasakoff.

After earning a scholarship from the Berklee College of Music (Boston, USA), he dove into jazz with his personal project, the Javier Asencio grupo. The band recorded an album, Ciclos (2006), which received rave reviews from both the media and the public. His success led him to play at various festivals such as the Buenos AiresInternational Jazz Festival where he had the opportunity to play along artists such as Kenny Barron, Anthony Braxton, Chucho Valdez and Dino Saluzzi.

While living in Mexico, he founded the Surya Experience, an electro-jazz music band with whom he composed as well as produced two albums, Los Cabos chill vol. 1 and vol.2. During this time, he met Director Santiago Pando and composed the musical score for his movie Ábrete corazón.

Javier Asencio now lives in Montreal where he continues to work on projects in various fields including cinema, dance and visual music.

What is our goal and what will your donation do?

Our goal is to raise $10,000 and with everyone pitching in a little, we think we can do it! Your donation will go to towards the most important (we can't do it without you!) - aspects of the production:


  • film equipment and gear (to create stunning, high-definition quality images)
  • location rentals (so we're not filming a beautiful dance scene in our basements)
  • art direction and set design (so we can transform our beautiful spaces into a real place that conveys the mood and emotion of the story)
  • costumes (to reflect the personality of our dancer and actors, and keep them from getting censored!)
  • post-production editing and mastering (to give it that award-winning touch)
  • marketing, promotion and awareness - to organize and host local screenings at mental health organizations and community groups, and to submit the work to world-class festivals and change their audiences' attitudes around the world


Whatever money we raise will go directly to the production of the work, even if we don't reach our goal -- but let's not let that happen! Our team will contributing for other film related expenses and your donation perks. With your help we can prove that it is possible for a film like ours to succeed - that audiences will come to a film with a fresh voice, a story full of emotion and relevance, with artistry and a vision unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. We think RUPTURA deserves to be breathed into existence, and we hope you do too.


Can we exceed the goal?

Yes we can! The more funds we raise, the better we can make the film, the easier it will be for us to both market and distribute the film, and the more cities and peoples' attitudes we can change.


How can I spread the word about your film?

Outside of donations - the best way you can help is to "Get your Social Media Megaphone on!"

  • Pass, post and email out our indieGoGo link (or cut n paste this campaign into your emails)
  • Post and like us on the RUPTURA Facebook page your support on your wall. Post to other people's walls!
  • Email all your contacts know who would love to donate to film, dance, mental health awareness and TELL THEM TO PASS IT ON!
  • Spread indieGoGo page to help make some noise!
  • Follow our Blog: http://rupturathefilm.tumblr.com/
  • Watch and like our Video postings on YouTube  



What do donors receive for giving? 

We spent a long time considering what those of you who will support RUPTURA might want, (aside from the great feeling of helping this film be made!) in return for your generosity. Rewards range from a DVD and digital download of the movie to t-shirts, special film credits from "thanks" to an "YOUR NAME HERE presents" at the head credit of the film, and a private Ruptura dinner party with the director and producer, featuring a performance by our lead dancers! For more information, just look to the right!

When will I receive my rewards?

We will be shipping all rewards within two months of the film's completion. DVD copies will be shipped just before the distribution release, which will be in late 2012.

How much is shipping?

Shipping is included in all minimum pledge amounts!

How will you know where to send my incentives, or what t-shirt size I wear? 

After our deadline, we will send you a indieGoGo message (which automatically forwards to the email address you gave indieGoGo) requesting all the necessary information. 

Can I give an incentive as a gift? 

Gifting an incentive is a wonderful idea! After the campaign, when we message you for details on your incentives, you can then give us the information for the person you wish to gift.

What if I don't feel comfortable donating online?

If you would like to support us but would rather send us a monetary donation by mail, please contact us at rupturathefilm@gmail.com and we can arrange a mailed donation which we will in turn add to through our account to the campaign.

How can I contact you?

You can reach us at rupturathefilm@gmail.com – feel free to email with questions, comments, or happy thoughts! Just be aware that we get a lot of emails, so please give it a few days for us to respond! 

I want more information…

You can find out more about the film here:


Once again, thanks for visiting our indieGoGo page – we hope you’re able to support us! 


Team on This Campaign: