Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

RTF freshman’s film ‘IMG_8099’ portrays eating disorders, reflects her personal life


Content warning: This article heavily features mentions of eating disorders

Ana Yanez hates being seen while crying. She never expected she would be bawling her eyes out in front of a camera. The University of North Texas psychology freshman stars in a film where she portrays a girl battling an eating disorder.

Gianna Galante, a radio-television-film freshman, wrote, directed and filmed “IMG_8099” entirely herself. As someone who likes to portray her own life through film, Galante said “IMG_8099” reflects her past troubled relationship with food. She said she hopes her film brings to light the harsh truth about disordered eating.

“The reality of it is that so many people fall back into (eating disorders) or they don’t ever move on from it,” Galante said.

Galante said she gained inspiration for the personal film when she realized her experiences with disordered eating turned out to be less common than she once thought. She said she wanted her film to portray the different experiences of disordered eating, not just the stereotypical ones that center around thin girls.

“A lot of people go through it, but it shouldn’t be normalized,” Galante said. “It was emotional (because) I’ve always wanted to see a good experimental film about an eating disorder, (and) I’ve never seen something student-produced that was really touching to me.”

Yanez, who starred in another video directed by Galante, discusses “IMG_8099’s” somber tone. 

“It definitely was supposed to give you that eerie, unsettling feeling,” Yanez said. “This character that I’m portraying goes through this every day.”

Despite the heavy topic, Yanez said she appreciates the opportunity to star in the film and views it as a wake-up call for some viewers.

“I got to be the star of something that could change someone’s life or could potentially make someone’s day better if they see it … (or help them) realize that they do need help,” Yanez said. 

Galante’s ability to take charge during production proved impressive, Yanez said. 

“She knew what she wanted,” Yanez said. “She knew … what we were going to do (and) what I needed to help her with. Her being a very cooperative director had that leadership aspect to it.”

Kaylee Johnson, an RTF senior who worked closely with Galante on “Feeding Tube,” another film centered around eating disorders, also highly praised Galante’s abilities.

“(She) absolutely amazed me,” Johnson said. “(Throughout) production, she continued to be extremely helpful and took a lot of the stress off of me. … She was my right-hand person.”

After watching “IMG_8099,” Johnson said she felt connected with Galante and the stories they’ve both told through film.

“How I interpreted the film is it’s a very prevalent story to what a lot of girls feel growing up and (Galante) had a good way of clearly encompassing that in the story, especially through her editing,” Johnson said. “She did a great job with it and I’m proud of her.”

Galante said her film, which advanced through three rounds of UIL state competitions, features an ending meant to underscore the enduring battle of disordered eating.

“The way I ended it, (the main character) didn’t get better, which sounds so sad but I liked not having the happy ending,” Galante said. “Sometimes it’s just a struggle for people that continues forever.”

More to Discover