0.8 Amps of Happiness

The documentary 0.8 Amps of Happiness closely portrays three patients who are being treated with Electro Convulsion Therapy (ECT) for their depression or psychosis. Saskia Gubbels shows how these illnesses keep both the protagonists as well as their families in a dark pit. From this darkness, they are faced with a dilemma: to undergo a series of Electro Shocks. A therapy that is surrounded with prejudices, that can indeed affect the memories, but nevertheless offers hope.

‘There will come a moment when I decide to lie down in the snow to die. Because living like this isn’t much of a life. It really isn’t. It’s death.’

These are the opening words of Lidwine in the documentary ‘0.8 Amps of Happiness.’ Severely depressed and suicidal, she has tried everything to break free from the downward spiral she finds herself trapped in. Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT), popularly known as electroshock therapy, is her last resort. This therapy is often effective but has long encountered deep-rooted prejudice and fear. Director Saskia Gubbels intimately portrays three people who undergo electroshock therapy. She captures how depression has completely taken over their lives and those of their families and friends. Will they manage to escape the darkness of depression or psychosis? Will this treatment give them back just a tiny shred of their former state of happiness they so long for?

Watch on Vimeo on Demand.


Saskia Gubbels

University of Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts, Photographic and Audiovisual Design / 1994-1997 – HBO graduate, Academy of Fine Arts St. Joost Breda. Cum laude degree as Audiovisual Program maker.

Since 2001 working as an independent documentary film maker, writer and coach for young filmmakers.

Through Ellen’s Ears (2011, 15’) Eleven-year-old Ellen doesn’t speak with her voice but with her hands. She uses sign language because she is deaf. Ellen has to decide which secondary school to attend. She doesn’t want to go to the boarding school for the deaf like other deaf children. She would much rather go to an ordinary school or to the school for the hard of hearing, just like her best friend Myrthe, who is hard of hearing. But will she be admitted there?

Call of the Sea (2009, 50′) Amidst the dust and the derelict houses with boarded-up windows the residents carry on with their daily lives. As the district is disappearing, the memories of what happened in their houses becomes more and more important to people.

My Aunt was Right (2007, 50’) Documentary about the filmmakers’ aunt who, after 1,5 years psychiatry, slowly regains her freedom. A film about power and powerlessness, and the balance between normalcy and the abnormal.


script Saskia Gubbels ism Lies Janssen | camera o.a. Stefano Bertacchini, Reinout Steenhuizen | sound recording o.a Suzanne Helmer, Bouwe Mulder | editing Maasja Ooms, Katarina Türler | soundscape Rutger Zuydervelt | sound mix Tom Bijnen | executive producer Judith Vreriks | commissioning editor NCRV Jelle Peter de Ruiter | produced by Frank van den Engel

In co-production with NCRV. With support of the Dutch Cultural Media Fund and the Netherlands Foundation of Mental Health.