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Meeting Miles Levin

Writer and Director of Under the Lights

By Rene PetersPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - January 2024
25
Miles Levin

Last night, something incredible happened. I got to virtually meet the writer and director, Miles Levin, of the short film Under the Lights!

Under the Lights is about a high school boy with epilepsy. His character is very relatable to anyone with epilepsy. The most memorable line in the short film is, "I just want to feel nomal." This line is something that I have said since I accepted that I have epilepsy about three years after being diagnosed. No matter how many seizures I had before that, I was in denial. I wanted to be a typical teenager, seeing friends and doing stuff I enjoyed without the fear of injury from seizures. In hindsight, I wish I accepted it sooner.

I wish I understood epilepsy sooner.

Miles has made understanding epilepsy and destigmatizing it his personal mission. He is planning on making a whole movie to put on major streaming platforms. The script has been approved by major film people. I can't remember the acronym of who those people are but they loved his script. He has the actors planned and all that's left is raising the funds for this much needed film.

Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder but there is so much stigma around it. Outside of the epilepsy community, people are completely unaware of the fact that epilepsy is so much more than just seizures. What's even worse is that caregivers get even less recognition than those who suffer with epilepsy.

What really inspired Miles to create Under the Lights is that he has had epilepsy since he was five or six. He doesn't remember life without epilepsy. "In a way, the film is autobiographical," is one of the things he said about Under the Lights when someone asked, "Will there be types of seizures depicted besides grand mal? Most people don't realize there are so many types." He made sure to mention on the zoom interview that there are 40 or more types of seizures. He has absence seizures and had a few on the call last night. I didn't notice them because they are so short. I only know because he told us that they happened.

The movie won't be the typical "high school bully" movie because, as Miles said, "If you stand outside a store and do a poll, nine and a half times out of ten, people will say they are a good person." From what it sounded like to me, it will be more like people are bystanders because they don't want to be associated with someone with epilepsy. People are afraid of the unknown and most people know little to nothing about seizures and epilepsy. In my experience, that was what happened. I lost people that I thought were friends and became very isolated. The only people who are willing to do anything to try to help are the people who have it or care for someone with it.

The movie will be focused more on how difficult daily life is, rather than the seizure itself. It will be showing Sam (the teenager with epilepsy) having to miss out on stuff because of seizures. While only about 3% of people with epilepsy are photosensitive, that is one of Sam's triggers in the movie. It makes going to prom hard for him because he knows he will have a seizure.

When asked, "Is there a target audience for the movie?" Miles said, "As many people as possible. Even though he is a high schooler, most of his struggles don't end in high school."

The reason he chose to make a movie is because "awareness starts in media. You can have an event but no one outside the community affected will go to it. If a movie sounds interesting on Netflix, you could reach ten million people. You don't get that reach with an event in the community."

This is the first film in history to destigmatize epilepsy. The way it is portrayed in other media just adds stigma.

CreatorsFilmmakers
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About the Creator

Rene Peters

I write what I know, usually in the form of poetry. I tend to lean towards mental health, epilepsy, and loss/grieving.

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Comments (14)

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  • Mike Singleton - Mikeydred3 months ago

    Excellent interview really interesting

  • ROCK 3 months ago

    Very interesting; I 'd like to see his short film. Thank you for sharing this! 🙏😊

  • Mariann Carroll4 months ago

    Good for him💗I had a feeling there are different form of seizures. I had dog with seizures. He would freeze and stiffen up. My cat Richard, he would go in circles and pee. Someone bang his head when he was a kitty. I adopted him from the streets. He had to get injection every month .

  • Babs Iverson4 months ago

    Awesome!!! Loved you story, Rene!!!💕❤️ Congratulations on Top Story too!!!🥰

  • Bopo4 months ago

    Hi

  • Excellent work René!!!

  • I'm so sorry you lost friends because of this. It's so sad that they would leave you just because of this. Such fake people. Also I really hope his movie goes on Netflix! It would create soooo much of awareness! Congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Judey Kalchik 4 months ago

    Congratulations on the Top Story recognition!

  • L.C. Schäfer4 months ago

    This is brilliant, and I'll definitely be putting UTL on my list. Thank you for telling us about it 😁

  • Caroline Jane4 months ago

    What a fantastic interview! ❤️

  • Shirley Belk4 months ago

    Excellent interview!!!!

  • Judey Kalchik 4 months ago

    How in the world did you get to do this? How wonderful!

  • LOVE THIS STORY. WHERE CAN I VIEW HIS MOVIE?

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