Submissions are now open for our 2023 international film competition, which takes place as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF), led by the Mental Health Foundation. 

Now in its 17th year, SMHAF calls on filmmakers to submit films addressing mental health and the various ways this can be understood or reflected. SMHAF is renowned for championing work by filmmakers with lived experience of mental health problems, exploring how film can challenge stigma and perceptions, and raising awareness about the links between inequalities and mental health.

We invite films that draw attention to personal stories and raise awareness about specific mental health problems, but we also welcome innovative and diverse perspectives on mental health and wellbeing. Films produced in collaboration with communities affected by mental health problems, and by first-time or aspiring filmmakers are also welcome. 

Previous award winners include: Too Rough (Sean Lìonadh, 2022), Judy Versus Capitalism (Mike Hoolboom, 2020), That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore (Hannah Currie, 2019), Evelyn (Orlando Von Einsiedel, 2018), Irene’s Ghost (Iain Cunningham, 2018), Summer, 1993 (Carla Simón, 2017), Becoming Cary Grant (Mark Kidel, 2017), and A Family Affair (Tom Fassaert, 2015).

All award-winning films will be screened at the festival in May 2023, alongside a curated selection from the submission. Submissions should be made through our FilmFreeway page. The deadline is Friday 16th December 2022. 

The standard submission fee is £7 for short films and £10 for feature films, which helps us to cover the cost of running the competition. To ensure the competition is accessible to all, we will provide a fee waiver for anyone who requests one – no questions asked. Please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions about the submission process, to request a waiver code, or if you would like to discuss anything else relating to the film competition.

We look forward to receiving your submissions this year. Please also help us to spread the word about the competition – you can find us on social media on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook