The next two months see a flurry of Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival (SMHAFF) film-related activity at a number of exciting events.
First up is a session at 20th April’s The Dust of Everyday Life, the annual symposium on the arts, mental health, stigma, and social justice programmed by the Mental Health Foundation and See Me. Truths vs Fictions: documentary, drama and mental health brings together fiction and non-fiction filmmakers to discuss the best ways to address important issues on screen. Panellists are director and educator Kate Burton, Scottish Documentary Institute co-director Sonja Henrici, Belle and Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch, and filmmaker / visual artist Ruth Paxton.
From 29th April through 2nd May, the Radical Film Network Festival and Unconference takes place. SMHAFF has been involved from the beginning in the plans for this international gathering. RFN Glasgow 2016’s city-wide activity is a unique and innovative constellation of events and screenings presented through the collective efforts of over thirty organisations. SMHAFF is teaming up with mental health charity Flourish House to offer two invigorating days of films, food, coffee and conversation for participants and the general public. Let Glasgow Flourish House Party happens on Saturday 30th April and Sunday 1st May.
One week later, Restless Natives kicks off. This week-long celebration of independent arts and culture in Glasgow’s East End features an eclectic screening schedule co-programmed by SMHAFF. One of the festival’s most inspired elements is a unique gathering of socially engaged festivals and other organisations under the Restless Natives banner, with Africa in Motion, Document Human Rights Film Festival, GMAC Film, Lock Up Your Daughters, Radical Film Network Scotland, SMHAFF, Scottish Queer International Film Festival, Scottish Refugee Council and Take One Action all presenting work.
On the 30th of May, Edinburgh’s Hidden Door showcases a bracing selection of shorts first shown at SMHAFF’s 2015 edition. Suppressed / Expressed was curated by students in the University of Edinburgh’s MSc Film, Exhibition & Curation programme from submissions to our International Film Competition. The festival runs from 24th May through 4th June.
For the second year running, XpoNorth (8th – 9th June) provides the platform for a SMHAFF-led retrospective on a Highland filmmaker’s work and its connections with mental health. The nation’s leading creative industries festival will spotlight multi-BAFTA Scotland nominee Robin Haig during its 2016 event. Details are yet to be announced, but will soon be available on the XpoNorth website.
Increasingly, the focus will turn towards the continuing work on SMHAFF’s 10th edition. This includes involvement in the Glasgow Film See Me Film Fund (www.glasgowfilm.org/theatre/see_me_film_fund) process, which culminates in new mental health shorts being screened at our event in October. Also in the works are collaborations with fellow festivals Africa in Motion, IberoDocs and Luminate, among others.
And once again, film programming for SMHAFF will largely emerge from submissions to the International Film Competition, which is open for submissions now through the 31st of May (see www.mhfestival.com/submission/film-competition or www.filmfreeway.com/festival/ScottishMentalHealthArtsandFilmFestival.
Special announcements will be made along the way as the festival approaches a very special marker. However, there is no reason to wait until our official October dates to be engaged with SMHAFF. Between now and early June, there is an array of opportunities available to do so.