DELTA 7EVEN has been announced as the winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival 2020. Selected by a jury of film and mental health professionals, the Grand Jury Prize is the most prestigious award presented as part of the festival’s annual International Film Awards.
Filmed, produced and directed by Rosie Baldwin, DELTA 7EVEN follows a post-punk band made up of adults with learning disabilities whose united strength and enjoyment of making music help them come to terms with the heartbreaking death of one of their band mentors. It also won the Community award at the festival, announced during the International Film Awards.
DELTA 7EVEN began as an attempt to tell the story of the band as their music and messages of inclusivity and acceptance were starting to reach a wider audience. However, the project changed immeasurably when Tom Salway, a friend and mentor to the band members, took his own life at the age of 24. Capturing important moments in the band’s journey following this loss, the documentary foregrounds the extraordinary spirit they have fostered, their expressiveness, creativity and humour, and the understanding and empathy they show towards Tom – and each other – in the most difficult circumstances.
Rob Dickie, film programmer at SMHAF and Festival Officer at the Mental Health Foundation, said:
“DELTA 7EVEN, deals with a profoundly challenging situation with sensitivity and courage, capturing the tremendous sense of grief and loss among the participants, as well as how the supportive environment and close relationships within the band help them to move forward. The interviews offer insightful reflections about the ways we process grief and experience depression, while candid footage of rehearsals and performances capture the infectious joy that comes from performing – and simply being – together. Director Rosie Baldwin has achieved a rare balance between addressing the devasting impact mental illness can have and highlighting the importance of the arts, creativity, and communality to our resilience in adverse circumstances, and to our wellbeing at all times.”
A 20-minute version of the film titled Disabled not Defeated: The Rock Band with Learning Disabilities was released with VICE this year and we are delighted to make it available to watch here. We hope that the full-length version will be screened at the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival 2021.
Photographer, filmmaker and performance maker Jassy Earl, a member of the International Film Awards jury said: "DELTA 7EVEN was for me, an absolutely stand out film amongst this year’s nominees. It’s a film that celebrates neurodiversity, inclusion, friendship and music and becomes a film entirely different to the film it begins as. It is no straightforward navigation of grief, and presents the complexities of joy and heart break in being human, together. It is too, an ode to the power of music as a site for community, language, expression and liberation.”
If you would like to support DELTA 7EVEN on their journey together, you can donate to the band at this page.
The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival is now open for submissions for 2021. Click here to find out more about our international film competition and to submit.