Writer/director Kelly Oxford’s ‘Pink Skies Ahead’ takes an authentic look at anxiety

Tiffany Roohani (Jessica Barden and Odeya Rush in MTV Entertainment Studios’ Pink Skies Ahead)

After its release was delayed by the pandemic last year, Pink Skies Ahead is premiering this weekend, just in time for Mental Health Awareness Month.

Set in Los Angeles in 1998, it stars Jessica Barden as Winona, a 20-year-old college dropout and aspiring writer, coming to terms with her anxiety disorder. The film is based on writer/director Kelly Oxford’s real-life experiences. She hopes it’ll help others going through similar situations.

“[Winona] isn’t really, like, messed up,” Oxford notes. “She has friends, she goes out…and I feel like a lot of people who have watched films about people with mental conditions, it’s always very glaring that they have a mental condition. And in real life, it isn’t like that.”

Oxford adds, “So I’m hoping that people can see themselves in the character as well and maybe question if they have an anxiety disorder or not.”

In fact, during filming, the mom of three says one of her own children was diagnosed.

“Just support, just complete support, and being there for them, I think is the most important,” Oxford says. “Always being available to talk to. If he wants to talk to me and I’m busy doing something, I’ll drop anything just to talk to him.”

Being that she’ll not only be celebrating her film’s release this weekend, but also Mother’s Day. Oxford says she just wants to spend time around her kids.

“I feel like my job is so lonely, like, writing by myself is so lonely that then it’s nice to spend time with the kids, especially now that they’re getting older and they’re going to be gone soon,” she says.

Pink Skies Ahead premieres Saturday, May 8 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on MTV with a simulcast on Pop TV.

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