‘Selena Gomez: My Mind And Me’ Director On His Subject’s Mental Health Challenges & The Pic She Was “Obsessed” With – Contenders Documentary

Selena Gomez has been candid about her struggle with mental health issues, including her 2018 bipolar diagnosis. With Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me, she and director Alek Keshishian wanted to create a public account of her long battle to recover her mental wellbeing.

Speaking at Deadline’s Contenders Documentary panel for the Apple Original Films pic, Keshishian revealed why Gomez trusted him to tell such a personal story.

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“I met Selena in 2015 because she told her manager, who happened to be my sister, that she was obsessed with [Keshishian’s 1991 Madonna docu] Truth or Dare,” he said. “She had watched it seven times while she was in Hawaii, and she said she found it so authentic and so inspiring and real. So we met, and that’s how the first connection happened.”

Together they created a deeply personal and revealing film, with Gomez openly discussing her stay in mental health facilities. Keshishian shared that the singer’s health struggles were so great that he canceled their first attempt to create a film together.

“She asked me if I would do her tour doc for [Gomez’s 2015 album] Revival, and I said, ‘I’m not sure you’re going to be comfortable with what true cinéma vérité filmmaking is like. I just shoot. It’s not like I have prescribed days or hours. I just keep shooting.’ And she said, ‘No, no, no, but you know, I really want to do this.’ And so I did for two weeks, but I could see that things were really going off the rails, and it didn’t feel right for me to be necessarily filming all the time this 24-year-old young woman who I could see was in distress. It just felt exploitative. So we mutually agreed to put a pause on it.”

RELATED: ‘Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me’ Trailer: ‘Only Murders’ Star Opens Up About Mental Health

Ultimately, of course, they did successfully complete the film, and while it was a struggle for both Gomez and Keshishian to document something so personally painful, the director said it was worth it for the larger message that the film is trying to deliver. 

“I think our partnership was about doing something that was perhaps bigger than both of us, which was to help other people,” he said. “And so it was the most difficult thing I’ve ever shot in my life. And it was, I’m sure, the most difficult thing for her to ever release. But what kept sustaining us was this idea that maybe together we could do something that might help somebody else who doesn’t have our privileges.”

Check back Wednesday for the panel video.

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