New Pin – Mental Filmness 2022 Developments

This new pin will be at the top of the site this season for news on the developing Mental Filmness 2022 festival (look at me, blogging like a pro!).

Hello! The BIG news is our virtual fest opened tonight. You have until November 6th to unlock and watch wonderful films and watch illuminating interviews for free at https://mentalfilmness2022.eventive.org/welcome

This year will also mark our comeback as a partially live festival, with a limited number of in-person screenings in Chicago. The big one that I have publicized and will continue to publicize is the screening already booked at the Davis Theater with triple-threat talented writer-director-actresses Alyssa Thordarson and Vanessa Leonard in conversation with their realistic and empathetic films on mental health. Please bookmark the date of October 15th at 7 p.m. for that if you are local, you do not want to miss it! We are also looking into a possible Chicago Public Library screening like we did last year, except with a guest filmmaker in person this time, so stay tuned for that information.

As always, all of our programs are free to the public in the spirit of our mission to spread mental health awareness.

You can continue to check this pin at the top of the site for new dates and developments. I say this every year, but 2022 is going to be a great year for the fest!

New Year, New Festival

A new year is really just a term of art. And every year, it’s the same pattern at the library: all the books that come in on hold for folks are the books on how to quit smoking and drinking, how to lose weight, how to save money, how to organize your closet. Not to mention, we’re headed into another year of whatever the world’s been going through, which is wearing everybody down. But I think everyone still likes the idea of a fresh start, even if it’s an imagined one. I think we all need one. 

It’s good to think of self-improvement, but I think there will still be days for most people, not just those with mental illness, where you just need to muddle through, and days where we slip back to our vices or are tempted to do so. That’s why I’m not a huge believer in New Year’s resolutions. I feel like sometimes the pressure makes me feel more self-critical and makes my self-esteem even lower. I don’t know, this may seem similar in a way, but I like to have some goals and visions for the year ahead, especially now, to look forward to. 

And one of those goals is for Mental Filmness, which I’d like to grow more every year. I think there is an audience for it, and I’d like to see it get even bigger. I have a few ideas in mind for this, so I’ll see if we can make it happen. I hope we can have a modest in-person evening event in Chicago, but I’ve been saying that for the last couple of years at this point and I’m not banking on it. But working within the framework of possibilities, I’d really like to get more eyes on the films and more people talking about mental health. 

As I’ve said before, I feel like Mental Filmness helps me with my own mental health in the way that I would hope it helps others. It helps me to hear other stories and realize I am not alone, that many people have shared my struggles and overcome even more adversity than me. Other people have told me it is cathartic to tell their story. They feel as if it transforms what could be viewed as a shameful secret or stigmatized condition into a way to connect with others and help them realize mental illness is an obstacle that they have the strength to overcome. 

On this #MentalHealthMonday I am incredibly grateful to all the people who helped make Mental Filmness happen from the start. These include volunteers from the Chicago venue Comfort Station, volunteer screeners, partnering committees, and encouraging friends who spread the word; of course, all the filmmakers who submitted and the ones who paid their own way to travel to Chicago that first special in-person year; all those who agreed to do interviews to share their insights, and more. I cannot even believe as I put the call for entries together that this is “Year Four” of this event that means so much to me and hopefully others. I would like to keep it going as long as possible in some form because I think that mental health struggles, while they may take a different shape, are not going anywhere and there will always be novel stories and treatments and recoveries. Sadly, I think there will always be some people who are lost to mental illness as well but I also think that is why it’s all the more important to emphasize hope and empathy.

The call for entries is open for Mental Filmness 2022–I’m just operating on the presumption now that Earth will still be around in something resembling its current format in 2022. You can find it here on Filmfreeway: https://filmfreeway.com/MentalFilmness. Please submit a film you have about mental health, or encourage others you know to submit. There is a small submission fee of $10, which really just offsets any incidental costs we happen to have, (generally streaming and Zoom fees lately, things of that nature), and which also acts as a bit of a filter to narrow down the films to a mental health topic. By all means if the fee is a hardship for you, feel free to e-mail sharon@mentalfilmness.com and we should be able to grant a waiver—either way, someone’s thinking about the topic and still wants to enter!

That moment when the films start rolling in has actually become one of my personal favorite parts of the New Year. It’s really exciting to read the synopsis, to see where they’re from, to see what they’re about, and to view them. There are so many gems and such a variety, and I start to get excited envisioning how the festival will take shape for the next year. It has definitely become such a big part of my mental health, feeling like I receive little gifts all year from people who have a similar passion for this topic and their own story to share. Thank you to all those reading this for your interest in Mental Filmness and keeping the spark alive and going!

Antidepressants May Not Work The Way We Think They Do

Antidepressants may not work the way we think they do—but how much does that matter? Initially scientists and researchers thought the drugs worked to correct a “chemical imbalance” in the brain, especially a balance of the chemical serotonin, which was linked with mood. It’s now recognized that the mechanics of antidepressants are much more complex than we originally thought. It’s still not entirely understood how they work, but one newer theory is that they may actually help form new connections between cells in the brain, and they may also increase other chemicals in the brain that aid in that cell growth.

Most people who take antidepressants—and not surprisingly, the numbers have gone up recently—have to cycle through a few until they find one that works well for them. And then, that particular drug usually takes some time to start working. It also may cause unpleasant side effects that interfere with your sleep, appetite, or suicidal ideation—all things you are probably trying to use the antidepressant to treat.

There is still hope, though. In a clinical trial studying the effects of antidepressants, half of the participants had significantly improved after using either the first or second medication they tried, and nearly 70 percent of people had become symptom-free by the fourth antidepressant. Trial and error and perseverance are often key to getting antidepressants to work for you.

Of course, no matter how they work, or which one works best for your personal “brain chemistry,” antidepressants aren’t a magic bullet. Important factors like sleep, diet, and exercise are also necessary, and can work just as well as antidepressant drugs for mood balance. The catch-22 I always find is that depression itself often makes these cures for depression impossible. Depression can interrupt your sleep and make you too fatigued to exercise or cook well, for example. Severe depression can even make it a chore to get out of bed, shower, or get dressed. I had one doctor describe it to me this way: Antidepressants can sometimes help “cut through the fog” long enough to give you the motivation to make the other lifestyle changes you need to treat your depression.

Chicago Mental Filmness 2022 Season Finale – Stay With Me Screening And Q & A With Writer-Director Marty Lang, 11/12, 2:00 PM @ Edgewater Library

Hey Chicago, Mental Filmness homeland!

Don’t forget our last event of the 2022 festival season is tomorrow, 2:00 p.m., at the Edgewater branch of the Chicago Public Library. I’m trying to do a last-minute push to ensure that Marty Lang, who is kind and passionate enough to travel here from Memphis to speak about his film, gets an audience to ask him some Q’s!

Stay With Me, a film about a young woman struggling with an unspecified mental illness and the friends coping with the aftermath of her suicide, felt like one of the more relatable films in the festival to me. It had a lot of warmth, some humor, and some impressive writing and acting for an indie drama which made the characters feel very much like real people. I think it’s entertaining and engaging, and a great pick for a live screening.

Writer-director Marty Lang will be in attendance for a discussion after the film and I am very interested to hear his thoughts about it.

This program is sponsored by the Diversability Advocacy Committee of the Chicago Public Library. It screens as part of Mental Filmness, a Chicago-based film festival about mental health. 

And as always, it’s free! Hope to see you there.

INSIGHTS V – Creativity & The Bipolar Brain

It wasn’t just a dream…I really was selected for a grant and exhibition by the Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation! For one night I got to be an artist superstar. The opening night at the Zolla Lieberman gallery was definitely the fanciest and most high-profile art event I have ever been a part of. I wore an “artist” ribbon (that they gave me, of course 😂) so people could come ask me about my art, and some did. A professional photographer snapped photos (including a photo of me with the photo inspiration and photographer responsible for photo inspiration). There was food that was so fancy and artistic-looking that I actually didn’t know how to eat it, and there were folks pouring your wine and circulating around asking if you needed refills and a special toast to all the artists. Ooo la la!

Of course, as impressive as all that was, the most special thing about the INSIGHTS V exhibition is that it was designed to highlight artists who live with bipolar disorder. I got to meet Dusty Sang, who co-founded the Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation with his wife to honor the memory of their son Ryan, who died at the age of 24 from complications with bipolar disorder. Some of Ryan’s art and sayings were hung in the gallery alongside the other artists. I got to tell Dusty how honored I was by this exhibit after my own struggles with bipolar disorder, and he told me everyone in the room had their struggles too. That was one of several times I teared up during the evening. The fact that this exhibit exists to celebrate creativity and the bipolar brain, to me, shows a huge leap forward in terms of awareness, breaking down stigma, and celebrating the accomplishments of individuals who live with a serious mental health diagnosis.

I’m glad I’ve gotten so much mileage out of this painting as well, because it occurred to me later it’s the only thing I’ve painted all year (specifically to try to enter the competition, which had to be a painting of a person or place important to you—I had planned on painting four more pieces to submit the max of five and never found the time). It belongs to the foundation’s permanent collection now, and I couldn’t be prouder. It’s definitely time to get back to the old easel though, especially since school break’s coming up.

Mental Filmness 2022 Virtual Fest Awards

Tonight, on an election day here in the States, it seemed fitting to tabulate the virtual ballots and announce the virtual fest awards. The way we usually award these is by looking at the films that received the most positive votes and then fitting them within the categories we usually give out: Stigma Breaker, Empathy, Realism, or Audience Awards.

The Locked Door, a short film telling the story of Igor who has been confined to his apartment for months with agoraphobia, earns the Realism Award. Ukrainian director Dmitry Badera was obviously passionate about telling a story about mental health in a culture where it is rarely heard, and spent a lot of time researching and learning about agoraphobia through interviews. I wonder if this film resonated with viewers a bit more strongly since most of us have dealt with being trapped indoors and the anxiety of leaving home in one way or another since the pandemic struck. Badera obviously struck a chord working with few resources, and the way he portrays Igor’s fear is never over-dramatized, instead showing a gradual build-up through therapy and exchanges with his brother to the ultimate moment where he decides to leave the house. It all seems too real, probably to many of us, now.

The unclassifiable video-essay/memoir/see other How to Explain Your Mental Illness to Stanley Kubrick seems to embody the spirit of the Stigma Breaker award to me. The very concept of the film lies in challenging stigmas and stereotypes that Stanley Kubrick presents in his films and that permeate culture in general, such as equating mental illness with dramatic breakdowns and violence. I personally feel the film also breaks stigma in the way the filmmaker Philip Brubaker makes himself vulnerable and relates memories of some of his own struggles with bipolar disorder. Philip has survived severe episodes, has gained stability, and has worked as a successful artist, filmmaker, and video essayist. This helps break down stigma about people who live with serious mental illnesses and what they are capable of achieving.

Just In Case, the empathetic short directed by Kirsty Robinson-Ward and written by the  writer-actress April Kelley, seems to be the most likely contender for the Empathy Award. I’m a little biased because as I’ve related here before, the film reminds me so strongly of conversations I’ve had with my own father about my bipolar disorder. However, I’ve heard at least a couple of other people say that it reminded them of different emotionally difficult conversations with their own parents. There is surely something deeply resonant about it whether or not the topic of the conversation was bipolar disorder. However, my hope, and I’m pretty sure April Kelley’s hope, would be that the natural empathy the film generates will serve as an engine for understanding bipolar disorder. Those who live with the condition can feel less alone when they empathize with the daughter in the film voicing some of her darkest thoughts. Those like the father character in the film—who don’t really understand, but truly want to for a loved one or for some other reason—may be able to gain some insight and empathy for what can be a truly debilitating and misunderstood disease.

Where Monsters Lurk, the other top vote-wrangler, seems most well-suited for the Audience Award. This short operates as a legit, entertaining horror film during the ultimate month of horror October, whilst also exposing the ultimate horror—being trapped inside a mind so depressed that it literally turns everything inside your apartment against you. The film works as both psychological horror and as object horror as writer-director Beth Ashby continually finds inventive ways to use inanimate objects that main character Kelly interacts with as a reflection of her deteriorating mind. This invention is essential because Kelly’s mind has become so dark she hasn’t been able to leave her apartment in awhile to interact with a real live human. Congratulations on earning a Realism Award for accomplishing what the best of the horror genre does, crafting a film that is scary precisely because it plays upon the monsters lurking in the back of the mind and in our everyday lives.

I was personally a little surprised by the number of submissions we received this year addressing bipolar disorder. These selections were not my personal bias; in the past we have only received two or three about it, and this year we received several outstanding selections about it. This disorder is fairly uncommon and commonly misunderstood, so my heart was heartened (maybe *that’s* personal) in feeling that it’s gradually gaining awareness and becoming less stigmatized.

I’d also like to share: 466 total orders (passes and tickets), compared to 331 last year, and 121 for year one of the virtual fest. Still not astronomical for a free virtual festival, but hey, growth is always good. 

Congratulations to the award winners, and congratulations to all of the filmmakers. Thank you for sharing your stories with us, for inspiring our modest audience and hopefully many others. I know most of you are aware of our uphill battle and say things like, if you could reach even one person, it was worth it. Well, you reached at least a few—including me.

More later. I know this is late and may try to bump it later, but many of y’all are in differing time zones. And more to come about the future of Mental Filmness. I want this all to be about the award winners for now, and mad (pun intended) congrats.

Closing Weekend Virtual Fest – “Stay With Me” Live Screening In Chicago November 12

Just a reminder….the Mental Filmness 2022 virtual festival closes tomorrow evening, November 6th, at 7:00 p.m. Until then you still have time to catch some amazing films about mental health for free that you might not be able to see anywhere else! Make sure to get your final views and votes in, and check out some of the illuminating interviews.

I’m going to post a longer thing about stats later, but every year our virtual festival viewership goes up….by a lot, actually. It’s very encouraging that it’ s getting a wider reach and some repeat viewers. I’m glad that viewers other than myself seem to enjoy it, because I probably get the most out of it. I’d like to brainstorm ideas to improve it in the future, like maybe make it more interactive with a couple of live streams/chats, since I have the feeling it’s here to stay. I’d like people to be able to have more of a discussion about the virtual films.

However, there is one last (for now) Mental Filmness screening planned, which I need to hustle to advertise more. This is our special “secret” screening, secret partially because it’s been in the works for awhile and it was finalized a little more short-notice than I had hoped. Still, I have high hopes that we can draw a bit of a local audience and it will pique some interest. Just as they did last year, the Chicago Public Library’s Diversability Advocacy Committee generously offered to host and sponsor a screening at the library. This time, though, the event will be *in person*—in the meeting room of the Edgewater branch library. The Diversability Advocacy Committee does excellent work year-round in drawing awareness to and celebrating the achievements of individuals with disabilities, including “invisible” disabilities like mental illness.

The bonus screening will be Marty Lang’s “Stay With Me,” which I find to be a very relatable dramatic feature film about a young woman who struggles with an unspecified mental illness and her boyfriend and friend who must cope with her loss to suicide. I discovered that in November International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is observed so the film seems particularly appropriate for that. Though a sobering topic, there is warmth and humor in this film and some realistic writing and acting that make it a compelling watch. Best of all, writer and director Marty Lang will be live and in person to talk about his film and answer questions about it!

So if you are in the Chicago area, I truly hope you can make it out to this special one-of-a-kind event. It should be a lovely finale to our return to live programming this year.

Highlight – Happy Anyway

I would always hate it when a therapist would say to me, “You can choose the way you feel about that.” I’d think, no you can’t! After some time and a little more work, I have to begrudgingly admit you can try to choose how to feel, and sometimes it does work a little bit, even with something as overpowering as feelings.

I had to try really hard at this during our shelter in place order here in Chicago, when I did the inevitable deep cleaning of my two-bedroom apartment. I live alone now and things are pretty quiet with my feline roommates but before that I lived with a series of roommates and partners. This place has a ten-year history for me and it’s been filled with laughter, wine, kisses, break-ups, art, parties, secrets—so many memories. Emptying drawers and closets I found things like drawings and cards dating all the way back to 2012. It was an intensely emotional architectural dig, and overwhelming at times. Finally I resolved to try my hardest when I came across a memory to think that I was lucky to have experienced that memory or that connection in my life, even if it was no longer there. I tried to focus on how many risks I had taken, adventures I’d had, meaningful relationships in my life, instead of the loss and the sorrow of missing them. This didn’t always work, but it helped.

I mention this autobiographical account because I feel that’s exactly what the lead actress in the short film Happy Anyway does. She’s a young illustrator who has experienced a loss, one more profound than any of mine, and it jerks her awake at night, disrupts her daily routine, and blocks her creativity. It’s a quiet, subtle film, both in the depiction of the young woman’s depression, which is reflected in ways like eating a granola bar for breakfast after spilling her cereal, and also through her half-smile in the end. She starts to work through her creative block and her depression by drawing happy memories of the partner she lost. She’s trying to choose how to feel about her loss, or maybe even just to allow herself to feel it, which entails feeling some of those happy memories and appreciating them. And it seems to kind of be working.

Highlight – Drunk On Too Much Life

Hello! It is the LAST weekend of the virtual festival (ends November 6th at 7:00 p.m.), so make sure to get in your final viewing before closing time! I still have a few films I hadn’t written capsule reviews on yet, so I’m going to try to finish those up PLUS talk about a special bonus screening we have on Saturday, November 12th, PLUS early next week I will reveal some stats & awards. Whew!

“It sounds very cliche to say that, you know, there’s a link between insanity and creativity. But I saw it. I saw that there was kind of an opening, there’s a lack of inhibitions, and there’s this kind of lateral thinking where you’re seeing these beautiful connections everywhere. That is fertile ground for anything creative.” The documentary Drunk On Too Much Life explores the beauty and the vision of madness. It follows Corrina, a young woman whose life was disrupted by intrusive thoughts and a psychotic episode, and her recovery, relapse, and recovery. Poetry, music, and art were a huge part of Corrina’s way out of the psych ward and back into connecting with life and others. She thought art was going to save the world, and she was going to be the one to bring that about. Her colorful and expressive drawings and paintings, songs, and writings are featured heavily in the film and help tell her story as much as any narrative.

Corrina and her family are on a quest to define her condition outside the diagnostic of a mental illness and to find treatment outside of a rotating cast of psychiatrists and medication. As well as art, other alternative techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises, peer and family support, and therapy all come into play. I don’t think Corrina’s diagnosis is ever specified. She experiences intense highs and lows, and at one point her mother asks a peer mentor if he believes in diagnoses like “bipolar dis—” and he actually cuts her off and says it’s not a label, but a pattern of symptoms and behaviors. This mentor has actually stopped taking medication, but he says he does “a thousand different things” to help instead.

This movie provides a unique outlook on mental illness. It touches a few times on the idea that Joseph Campbell expressed, “the psychotic drowns in the same waters in which the mystic swims with the delight”–that is, the fine line between delusions and profound and even psychic insights. In a shamanistic culture, a peer tells Corrina, she might be treated as a prophet or a seer, instead of locked up. The film doesn’t shy away from showing, however, that uncontrolled, Corrina’s illness can lead to drowning in her own dark thoughts to the point of catatonic states where she cannot function. I appreciated that while Drunk On Too Much Life offered no easy answers, it explored many different ways to understand mental illness. Corrina’s mother, who made the documentary, described it as “our search for a different story and language with which to understand hearing voices and seeing visions.”

April Kelley Interview Posted – What’s It Like To Have Bipolar Disorder?

I interviewed April Kelley, the writer and lead actress of Just In Case, just this last weekend so wanted to draw attention to the fact that it posted, so you can still check it out and check out her film in Shorts Block No. 1 if you’d like. I hate to play favorites but like all human beings I am biased and this one did particularly resonate with me as I remember having similar conversations with my father over coffee explaining what bipolar disorder felt like.

So what DOES bipolar disorder feel like? Of course, it’s different for everyone who experiences it. April Kelley rapid-cycles; I go through long, severe episodes, typically depressive. But when I hear someone else with the diagnosis just nail something that was so precisely to a “T” what I’ve felt at times, like not being able to wake up in the morning without thinking “fuck me, I gotta do this all over again,” I feel an immense sense of catharsis. April described what she felt while searching for kindred spirits and reading Teri Cheney’s Manic as a “hug and a slap in the face.” I love that. (By the way, I realized I HAD read this memoir as well after looking through my Kindle history around the time I was binge-reading my own “bipolar stories”). That’s what my ultimate lofty goal would be for a festival like this, to share stories to help others feel less alone.

April talks about how it’s rare to see representation in films specific to bipolar disorder. That’s generally true, yet for some reason I noticed a big spike in entries about bipolar disorder to the festival this year. In particular, Borrowed Light, Troubled Minds, Re-Live, and How to Explain Your Mental Illness to Stanley Kubrick are all very specifically about bipolar disorder, made by either people who live with bipolar disorder or who have intimately experienced it. All of those films, while differing from my own experience, once again spoke to some particular facet of my own experience.

I definitely noticed the trend and wondered myself what was driving it. Was it the frustration that there really aren’t many movies out there very specifically about bipolar? At least a couple of the filmmakers said that. Is it that there haven’t been enough outlets before, and now there’s more mental health awareness in general? I like to think that’s a big part of it—the whole “rising tide that lifts all ships” phenomenon. Depression and suicide are still more common in the population in general and in films, and only a comparatively small portion of the population experiences bipolar disorder, but if mental health is becoming a more common and open topic in films in general it makes sense that population would want representation, too.

What’s wonderful about the movies in the festival this year is they capture the diversity within the diagnosis. The depression, the unexpected humor, the excessive racing thoughts, the delusions, the suicidal ideation that can all be pieces of the puzzle. Like people experience bipolar disorder differently, these movies portray it differently, yet they all felt authentic to me in some way.

I think the Latvian Abele brothers told me in our interview they wanted to make a movie different than the “silver linings of the cloud” one, and I of course immediately knew they were talking about Silver Linings Playbook, a popular American touchstone film for the topic of bipolar disorder. I guess that shows you just how limited our media representation really is. And I freaking loved Silver Linings Playbook. It was a sanitized Hollywood rom-com movie about bipolar disorder, and it was meant to be, but it got just *close enough* to hitting on some emotional truth for me that I got sucked into it anyway. That’s how hungry for representation I was, apparently. But boy, the films in the festival this year really blow that out of the water in terms of being “real.” I will readily admit this festival is selfish in some ways—it really helps me seeing that representation. I really hope it helps the filmmakers and some viewers though, too.

The April Kelley interview, and all the others, are here. There’s so many of these now, I think I’m going to have to create an archive somewhere—I think they’re really interesting conversations even outside the context of the films.

https://mentalfilmness2022.eventive.org/eventive.org/mentalfilmness2022interviews

Highlight – Troubled Minds

The Latvian film Troubled Minds is probably one of the more challenging films we’ve featured, but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. Its loose, naturalistic style sometimes feels a bit overwhelming, like when you’re confronted with the noise of a bar fight longer than you think you should be in a movie, or when you’re faced with a shaky close-up of a suffering face. It feels a little too close for comfort, a little too real.

Based on my own personal experience, I could tell that sibling co-directors and co-writers Raitis and Lauris Abele were intimately familiar with bipolar disorder. This movie features what I think is the most accurate on-screen depiction I’ve ever seen of a character’s gradual descent (or should I say ascent?) into mania. As the Abele brothers say in their interview, most script doctors would have looked at the character Martin’s thoughts and words as the movie progressed and said they didn’t make any sense—his mind is suddenly latching onto the military waste buried in the deep sea, now that’s important, and now it’s the shifting of the geomagnetic poles that’s important, but wait now he’s back again or it’s both…..Mania can really be like that, though. Suddenly everything seems very important and every thing seems connected to every other thing in secret, important ways you never noticed before.

That’s one thing the Abele brothers get right, too: sometimes mania can be kind of funny. The movie is also a colorful, often comedic satire of the contemporary art world, and the co-creators said that part of that intention was to further blur the line between what’s really normal and what’s not in a setting where it’s much harder to tell. Some people endlessly roll a black boulder up a mountain like in the myth of Sisyphus, they say, while some are destined to roll a black cube.

You’ve still got time to check out the completely unique film Troubled Minds in the virtual festival for free:

https://watch.eventive.org/mentalfilmness2022/play/6340b8e00276ba003e7db60d

Also check out our interview with the Abele brothers, where they talk about experiences with their friends who are contemporary artists and their friends who have bipolar disorder, and how those experiences helped shape the film.

https://mentalfilmness2022.eventive.org/eventive.org/mentalfilmness2022interviews

Highlight – The Mind’s Image

The elderly are a population you don’t see addressed as much in terms of mental health, and when you do it’s usually in relation to dementia. But what about their moods, emotions, and abilities? Or their capacity to express themselves in a meaningful way?

The Mind’s Image is a short documentary made as part of a larger research project on the effects of art therapy on older adults. The film was designed to show the observational results that data alone cannot fully demonstrate. Watching some of the participants change in demeanor completely, open up, become more talkative, and enthusiastically describe the landscapes they are painting in great detail, is just the kind of picture of a thousand words that lies at the nexus of the science and art of the film.

What’s interesting is many of the participants in the study, who are residents of a nursing home, are visually impaired or blind but can still see, describe, and work with color. Researcher Katrin Singler makes a moving comment in her interview about how it is encouraging to see what people near the end of their life can still feel, think, and do.

You can still watch The Mind’s Image for free until November 6th in Shorts Block No. 3 here:

https://watch.eventive.org/mentalfilmness2022/play/633f0a9d4714100092379789/631fc69808bf1900f201dcb2

You can watch our interview with researcher Katrin Singler and filmmaker Daniel Asadi Faezi in the interviews section of the site. Note: Katrin’s sound was a little fuzzy at times, so you may want to turn on the closed captions in the video.

https://mentalfilmness2022.eventive.org/eventive.org/mentalfilmness2022interviews