After explores the journey of a woman coming to terms with life after a career-ending injury destroys her hopes of competing at the Olympics. Battling complicated grief, loss and complete isolation from the world she knew, she fights to get back into training hoping to achieve her gymnastics dream. But what is life like, after?
With the 2024 Olympics right around the corner, now is the perfect time for 'After' to be created.
Revolving around the central theme of complicated grief, this film highlights the struggles many professional athletes face after having their careers cut short due to injuries. Despite approximately 1 in 4 Olympic gymnasts having their careers end this way, the topic is still not widely discussed in the sporting industry resulting in a lack of support and resources being available for these gymnasts to navigate life after their dreams are dashed.
Lexi's devastating ankle injury causes her not only physical pain, but also throws her into complete emotional turmoil as she struggles to grasp that she has lost a significant part of her identity and now faces the unknown after years of hard work, dedication and discipline on her road to Olympic Glory.
After unsuccessful therapy sessions and specialist appointments that lead nowhere, Lexi refuses to accept this is the end and defiantly fights to get back into competition. After pushing herself to the limits with training and rehabilitation, Lexi ultimately succumbs to the reality that her professional gymnastics career is over.
'After' aims to shine a light on the mental and physical struggles athletes go through, often alone, on their journey to accept that the goal they spent so much of their lives working towards is no longer a possibility.
Up to 53% of professional athletes have admitted to facing daily mental health struggles.
In recent years athletes have become more vocal about the struggles of prematurely stepping away from their careers with many coping with amplified symptoms of depression and anxiety, resorting to alcohol or drug consumption or feeling completely lost and losing all motivation to move forward and how there is a lack of understanding and support for them.
The loss of a dream or career is a type of grief so unspoken about in society, however it carries many of the same mental and emotional responses as more commonly known types of grief such as losing a loved one.
'After' is an important piece of work to challenge the silence and show ex-athletes that they are not alone.
Directed by Tony Hunter
Written and Produced by Kimberley Robins
With Cinematography by Joseph Hobbs