Men In The Dark is a short film programme exploring male mental health, with a discussion taking place on Thursday 18 June. My Dad's Name Was Huw. He Was An Alcoholic Poet., Down The Rabbit Hole and Man In The Dark explore addiction, eating disorders and trauma.
Men talk of darkness and introspection. Women talk of gardens and live longer.
These lines was taken from a stack of poetry passed to Freddie Griffiths 15 years after his dad Huw died from cancer, primarily as a result of alcoholism. Poetry was the only release he had from his mental health problems, and, like many men, he was unable to talk about his experiences, a factor that may have contributed to his untimely death.
Winner of the Animation award at SMHAF this year, My Dad's Name Was Huw. He Was An Alcoholic Poet. insightfully unravels Huw's experiences, using the poems he left behind. The language guides the animated sequences, which emphasise the timeless repetition of his daily reality, as well as the disassociation that stays with him throughout his life.
Down The Rabbit Hole, by contrast, focuses on an issue that is still far less commonly associated with male mental health. James Roddie is a 30-year-old caver, climber and wildlife photographer, who is also living with an eating disorder. Throughout the film, he talks remarkably openly about his experiences, giving an insight into how outdoor activities can act as both an instigator and coping mechanism for dealing with mental health problems, and the importance of finding a safe way to follow your passions. The cave imagery, both from Roddie's photography and director Mike Webster's camerawork, also makes it a unique visual treat.
The final film, from which this programme takes its name, is Julian Triandafyllou's Man In The Dark. Using a fascinating structure and psychodramatic techniques, this hybrid documentary is based on a real encounter which brought to the surface traumatic memories from the director's past. Created at Edinburgh College of Art, with guidance from Emma Davie (I Am Breathing), this is a film about the complexity of depicting trauma in cinema and the vulnerability that artists place themselves under when sharing intimate experiences.