Twelve talented filmmakers will be honoured this Thursday 16th October at the 2014 SMHAFF International Film Awards ceremony, in Edinburgh’s iconic Filmhouse. Our panel of mental health and film experts had the difficult task of selecting the winning films from over 150 entries from as far afield as Australia, Canada, Iran, Thailand and the United States as well as from Europe, Ireland and the UK.
The winning films cover a wide range of issues, from the mental well-being of people living with Down syndrome and autism, to the mental strain caused by postpartum psychosis, dementia, sexual abuse and war. Richard Warden, film producer and member of the film panel commented on the standard of this year’s competition.
“We were impressed by the diversity of entries to this year’s film awards, and the honesty on display in the submissions was both moving and inspiring. It was an honour to watch so many brave pieces of filmmaking during the selection process."
Brave is certainly the word we would use to describe the winning documentaries. Kathy Leichter’s film ‘Here one Day’ is an emotional and candid film about the reverberations of suicide for those left behind, while ‘Today is Monday’ from Owen Davies confronts the difficulty of looking after people living with dementia. ‘Unravelling Eve’ from Joan Molloy features nine women’s individual experience with postpartum psychosis, while Sitar Rose gives a voice to adults who suffered childhood sexual abuse in her film ‘Tell Tale Signs’.
The importance of creativity for recovery is explored by Stephen Johnston and Edward Summerton in their film ‘Outdoor’ and by Gareth Rubin who takes us to the world’s oldest psychiatric institution, the Bethlem Royal hospital in south London in ‘Images of Bedlam’
The relationship between mental and physical illness is a common thread running through some of our films including Ilona Kacieja’s ‘Red Dust’, looking at the pollution and illness caused by the now closed Ravenscraig. Children with autism or psychosis preparing to enter into specialised schools is the subject of Didier Minne’s 'Les Enfants De Sisyphe' while Tarek Raffoul's Piros Fehér Zöld tells the story of a woman in the mid-70ies desperately trying to find an adequate place to stay for her son with Down’s syndrome, before it’s too late.
The dramas this year look explore the role of communication in mental well-being. ‘The Hard Dream’ from Iranian film maker Behrouz Bagheri is the story of an animated robot and his struggle in a monotone everyday life hard to flee, while 'Lizard Girl', from Lynsey Miller, delves into the world of 10-year-old Sam and her daily struggle with Asperger's syndrome. Claire Lamond’s animation ‘Sea Front’ is set in a slightly imagined Kirkcaldy during WWI and deals with a soldier’s family battling with their loss, grieve, longing, and hope on the other shore of the dividing Northern Sea.
Following up on the awards ceremony, the films will be screened at the Glasgow School of Art from Friday 17th – Sunday 19th. You can reserve your free tickets for the four sessions here:
We look forward to see you there.