MTV is premiering Pink Skies Ahead tonight at 9 p.m. ET commercial-free as part of its Mental Health is Health initiative. Starring Jessica Barden (The End of the F***ing World) as the 20-year-old Winona, the comedic film chronicles her first anxiety attack after dropping out of college. The film was written and directed by author Kelly Oxford, who found success due to her honest writing about the issues she’s faced in life.
“My goal in making this film is it’s for people with mental health conditions to feel seen and to feel hope,” Oxford told ComingSoon.net. “In my story that anything’s possible. You can always have hope, no matter how many times you failed. There’s always hope for everybody, and a lot of it comes with just talking and communicating with people around you, how you’re feeling. I really wanted to portray that in the film through Winona talking to her friends and going to therapy. I think that, that films like this and films in the future that MTV puts together, I hope that they’re very successful in reaching these audiences and de-stigmatizing mental conditions.”
While the film deals with anxiety attacks and the impact they can have on a young 20-year-old’s life, it isn’t a bummer to watch. In fact, Pink Skies Ahead is filled with humor.
“Here’s the thing, life is just like that, you know, sometimes things are really, really bad, and most of the time things are really, really good. In writing it, I just wanted it to be truthful with a lot of things that people that anxiety do. They are funny. Like you have to laugh at them, you have to laugh at yourself and what you do and how you’re living your life and how the anxiety is affecting you and making you do stupid things,” Oxford explained. “I really wanted this story to ring as true as possible for as many people as possible. For me to do that, my best bet was to tell my version of it, which was my truth, because if I had fictionalized it completely, I wouldn’t have known that experience.
“So I really had to tell it from my point of view and my life. I’ve been able to laugh at it. I’ve been able to laugh at myself, and I wanted to bring that to screen. I think it is a fun movie and, and it does have really poignant parts, but I hope that it shows people that mental conditions and all of these things are kind of stigmatized to the point where you think people are just like in a dark room all the time, doing nothing if they have an anxiety disorder, which is completely not true. You can have so many levels of anxiety, social anxiety, anything, and still be out there and challenging yourself. I really was that type of person. So I wanted to portray that type of person in the movie, and I think that that’s why there is so much lightheartedness to it. The reality is life really does contrast like that. You know, it is really dark sometimes, and it’s really light sometimes. Some of those best moments are when you are laughing, and it turns into a cry, or you’re crying, and it turns into a laugh. I wanted to tell that story.”
Pink Skies Ahead airs tonight on MTV commercial-free.