The Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival has announced the twelve films that have been selected to receive an award at the Festival’s annual International Film Awards ceremony.

Returning for its seventh year, the SMHAFF International Film Awards are the culmination of the Festival’s year-long international open submission competition. Films submitted address themes of mental health, and this year’s competition saw over 110 entries from Scottish, British and European filmmakers, as well as entries from as far afield as Canada, the USA, India and Israel.

Chosen by a panel drawn from arts and mental health contexts, this year’s winning films have a focus on documentary yet cover a diverse range of subjects, including: a couple’s everyday battle to remember their life together in the face of Alzheimer’s (Pe&Fu, Memoirs of a Heart); an insider’s view of schizophrenia (There is a Fault in Reality); and the horror of suffering from hyper-acoustic sensitivity in Tel Aviv – one of the nosiest cities on earth (Noise).

The winning filmmakers will receive their awards at the International Awards Ceremony at the Edinburgh Filmhouse on Wednesday 23 October, where clips of the winning films will be screened to an audience of invited guests and members of the public, who can reserve free tickets through The Filmhouse Box Office: 0131 228 2688. There will be further opportunity to view the films before the end of the Festival – keep an eye on for more details.



Below are the winners and highly commended films that have been already been selected, with the special Jury Prize winner to be announced on the night of the Film Awards.


Pe&Fu, Memoirs of a Heart – Sergio Caro Cadenas (Spain)

Pepe plays it. He asks Fuencisla to look to the side and when she turns plants a kiss on the cheek. Sixty-five years later, Pepe keeps kissing his wife daily, but only one of them remembers that first kiss on the outskirts of Segovia. Pe&Fu, Memoirs of a Heart is the story of an indomitable love.

Jää (On Ice) – Sanna Liljander 

“Why don’t you just get up from there?” Once in a while you have to shatter the ice and confront the cold dark water underneath. On Ice is a short documentary film about depression, friendship and willpower.


There is a Fault in Reality – Tom Cotton (London,  UK)

In There is a Fault in Reality, writer, director and psychotherapist Tom Cotton explores the stories of three people – Jon, Peter and Jacqui who have all been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Through them, we enter a detailed insider’s view of schizophrenia, which bears little resemblance to the mainstream perception.

Jaywick Escapes – Karen Guthrie (Cumbria, UK)

Despite being officially Britain’s most deprived place, Jaywick promises a fresh start with sea views at bargain rents, just a stone’s throw from London. This film follows the lives of three Jaywick newcomers, drifters whose reasons to escape here are revealed across a year. At its heart is Nick, a reformed wide boy. Recently widowed, he fulfils a long-held dream of moving to Jaywick, throwing himself into a new life.  But before long, and as they have for the town itself, things seem to go very wrong.


Not Without You – Petra Lataster-Czisch and Peter Lataster (Netherlands)

Not Without You is an intimate portrait of an elderly artist couple that has to say goodbye to life and to each other. Filmed by their son, the film shows how photographer Hermaine and painter Ger cope with the frustrations of old age and illness. How will love and passion for art help them through the most difficult part of their lives?

Noise – Dan and Noit Geva (Israel)

A documentary comedy narrated, with a deep sense of self irony, by a mostly hidden antagonist: the wife of a man who suffers from hyper-acoustic sensitivity, a mental condition which makes his life in Tel Aviv – one of the nosiest urban locations on earth – a living hell. The award-winning documentary couple resolves to investigate the issue, the inner psychological journey after the mental sources of the disturbance is conflated with a whimsical installation of surveillance cameras in order to capture the cradles of this formidable sonic muddle that invades their daily lives.

  • ·     ARTIST FILM

Voices –  Bob Owtram (Berwickshire, UK)

Evocative, powerful, beautiful and at times controversial, Voices is a film narrative which takes the audience on an emotional experience through mental distress and on to the recovery journey. Stunning film imagery and sound accompany the narrative, which is created from existing artistic works of song, poetry, prose and artwork.

Considering Carol – Carol E Kelly (Northern Ireland)

Considering Carol describes Carol’s feelings upon entering and leaving psychiatric hospital, taking the audience on a journey through the treatment she received for her depression and where she finds herself today.


Mental: A Family Experience – Chris Tolmie (Glasgow, UK)

A short documentary about my brother Matthew who suffers from psychosis, capturing the struggles a family can experience if someone they know suffers, but also how it can bond a family together through tackling it.

50 Tips On How To Make The World Suck Less — Clare McCormack (Paisley, UK)

CREATE Paisley is a youth organization in Paisley, Scotland that attempts to engage with young people to both help develop their life skills and also to express themselves through different art forms. This film was written, produced and directed by their film-making team.

  • ·     DRAMA

I Spy – Chelsea Bulloch (Huddersfield, UK)

Bella lives with her father, who suffers from bipolar disorder. Using her dolls to escape from it all, imagination begins to merge with reality and matters soon spiral out of Bella’s control.

Denge camê da / The Sound at the Window – Nursel Doğan (Turkey)

Gülizar was forced to move from her small village to the big city. The only language she can speak is her native language, Kurdish. She finds herself up against endless challenges. She can’t even speak with a doctor, one of the most basic rights.