Our annual film programme in Glasgow takes place from 12-15 May, launching with the International Film Awards.

We are thrilled to announce the filmmakers and special guests who will join us throughout the weekend to present their films and take part in vital conversations with audiences. We look forward to hearing about the stories behind their films, their creative process, and their diverse perspectives on mental health. 

Find out more about the screenings we have coming up and our exciting line-up of guests.

Charm Circle

Director Nira Burstein will join us in Glasgow to present the Scottish Premiere of Charm Circle, an intimate portrait of her eccentric New York family navigating the chaos that divides them. The screening takes place on the evening of Saturday 14 May and includes an in-person Q&A. 

Charm Circle has screened at major festivals around the world, winning the Audience Award and First Feature Award Special Mention at Sheffield DocFest. Nira was also recently named as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film.

At SMHAF, Nira will also take part in Filmmakers in Conversation, a special online event in partnership with the Scottish Documentary Institute. She will join Scotland-based filmmaker Sam Firth, whose recent documentary The Wolf Suit is another personal account of a family living with mental illness.

This intimate artist conversation will give an insight into the creative process of these two filmmakers, focusing on the challenges and ethics of making personal documentaries in the context of mental health.

Made in Scotland

This year’s programme features a wealth of filmmaking talent from Scotland, including three winners at our International Film Awards. Shorts selection Made in Scotland showcases the best of this local work and aims to give an insight into the issues that affect our mental health in this country, including neurodiversity, body image, depression and prejudice. 

Join us for the screening on the evening of Friday 13 May, followed by an in-person Q&A with Maria Viola Craig (Killing Myself Laughing), Steven Fraser (Prosopagnosia), Douglas King (Do No Harm), Sean Lìonadh (Too Rough) and Marta Massa (What Remains). 

Scottish filmmakers are also represented across other events in our programme. Gathering on Film features work by Hannah Currie (City of Hope), Ana Songel (I Miss Hugs), Bibo and Brian Keeley (The Shared Light) and Annmarie Strain, who worked with participants from community arts charity In Cahootz to create A View Fae the Windae. Heather Andrews will also join us for a Q&A in our Who Cares? programme with experimental work In Plain Sight – Part 1: In Erms of Clay.  

Imprint Documentary Collective, led by Scotland-based filmmakers Marta Massa and Erica Monde, will also lead Taking Up Space, an engaged talk exploring embodied filmmaking as an act of wellbeing. How can we use filmmaking to tell the stories of our body and influence our personal and collective healing? 

Feature Films

Winner of the Feature Documentary award at SMHAF 2022, I’ll Stand By You follows two women, a psychologist and a police officer, as they embark on a challenging suicide prevention initiative to reduce the record rates in their rural hometown.

The screening on Friday 13 May will feature an in-person discussion with co-directors Virginija Vareikyte and Maximilien Dejoie, protagonist Valija Šap, and Danielle Rowley from Samaritans Scotland, who have recently launched a new campaign aimed at reducing suicides among men in rural Scotland.

We are also delighted to partner with Goethe Institute to present a special screening of Wood and Water at Glasgow Film Theatre. Taking place on Sunday 15 May to mark the end of Mental Health Awareness Week, Jonas Bak’s first feature is an atmospheric feat set in Germany and Hong Kong. It perfectly encapsulates isolation and loneliness while leaving space for exploration and hope.

The screening will include an in-person Q&A with director Jonas Bak and producer Charlotte Lelong.

The film programme will also feature virtual Q&As following screenings of Lessons in Temperament, with director Mitchell Cushman and musician,  theatremaker and protagonist James Smith, and A Bag Full of Purses, with director Leonardo Petralia. Lessons in Temperament will also be presented online for worldwide audiences on the SMHAF website, with booking opening soon. 

Short Films

Our remaining short film programmes explore mental health across diverse themes and styles. There is some exceptional work by UK filmmakers, plus titles from countries including Brazil, France, Lebanon and Japan, putting a global lens on mental health and wellbeing.

Who Cares? explores how our mental health is affected by austerity, poverty, racism and discrimination, with a particular focus on the experiences of young people. The screening features a discussion with filmmakers Léa Luiz de Oliveira (A La Folie), Michelle Jones (Uncle), Ella Greenwood (Why Wouldn’t I Be?), and Heather Andrews (In Plain Sight – Part 1: In Erms of Clay).

Family Ties focuses on how our family relationships can influence our mental health, for better or for worse. It will be followed by a Q&A with two award-winning filmmakers, Fan Sissoko (On the Surface) and Vincent Sparreboom (At the Feet of My Mother).

Beautiful Minds asks how we can better understand our unique realities, through the eyes of people living with psychosis and dissociative identity disorder. This hopeful programme will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Guen Murroni (Nice to Meet You All) and documentary participant Jerry Allan (Blue Monday).

Regional Screenings

There are also screenings taking place in partnership with communities across Scotland. Riptide, which premiered online at SMHAF 2020, has a series of screenings in Argyll & Bute, the Highlands and Moray, including Q&As with director Tim Barrow at Universal Hall, Findhorn, the Highland Cinema, Fort William, and Eden Court, Inverness. 

LGBT Health & Wellbeing and LGBT Youth Scotland host a free screening of Rebel Dykes at Duncan Place in Edinburgh, plus an oral history workshop. Celebrate this rabble-rousing documentary set in 1980s post-punk London, including a Q&A with producer Siobhan Fahey.

Follow the individual links to find out more and book tickets for each screening. Tickets for all events are Pay What You Can and all screenings include SDH captions.

To explore the full programme, visit mhfestival.com/whats-on.

Image: Wood and Water, courtesy of Trance Films