Despite losing the “and film” part of its name this year, the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival has far from let down Scotland’s cinephiles. Around 50 films, including shorts and features from all over the world, will be screened at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) between Thursday 12th and Sunday 15th October. This year’s programme boasts titles from Ghana, Australia, Canada and various European countries, confirming that conversations around mental health can and should be held together.

Over the past few years, the International Film Awards have been proved to be an essential catalyst for such conversations, bringing audiences and filmmakers together to celebrate creativity and empathy. One of the unmissable events in this year's programme, it will take place at the CCA from 6pm on Thursday 12th October. As well as presenting the winners from 11 different categories already listed in the programmme, the yet unknown recipient of the Grand Jury Prize will be announced that evening.

A film that immediately stands out from this year’s list of winners is the Feature Drama winner Summer 1993, also the Spanish selection for its Oscar nomination. Directed by Carla Simón, it portrays the struggle of six-year-old Frida as she tries to adapt to a new life after her mother’s death. The film barely gives glimpses into the adult world and their way of dealing with loss. Instead, conversations are overheard from under the table, where Frida is hiding, or from outside a window. This stylistic choice contrasts with the remarkable maturity with which the film deals with themes of family and grief. However, the clash surprisingly results in a poignant, multifaceted reflection on childhood, life and death.

Among the other winners, one that also demands attention is the Dutch documentary Vivian, Vivian, director Ingrid Kamerling's attempt to get closer to her sister and understand what she must have gone through in the moments leading to her suicide. And this year’s selection offers an unprecedentedly diverse range of films portraying connections and relationships between characters affected by mental ill health and their next of kin. For example Coping, the entry from Ghana, winner of the Human Rights award, and OverLove, winner of the Youth Perspective prize, directed by 19-year-old Danish filmmaker Lucas Helth. 

With such an impressive line up, the International Film Awards and this year's screenings at the CCA are not to be missed. 

by Ludovica Credendino

Ludovica is a Chemistry student at the University of Glasgow. Her passion for films led her to writing for websites such as The Fan Carpet and co-direct Exposure Short Film Festival.


Reserve your place at the International Film Awards, which takes place on Thu 12 Oct from 6-8pm at CCA. Representatives from all winning films will be in attendance, including directors, documentary subjects and others involved in the creative process. To attend screenings at the CCA, book a Features Pass, giving you access to all eight feature films, or find details of all individual screenings through our website