October 12, 2019, 4:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

Shorts Block No. 1

Call Connect (16 min.) (Dir. Indianna Bell & Josiah Allen, Australia, 2018)

“A young helpline operator takes her first call.”

My Room 37 (14 min.) (Dir. Beatrice Wong, Hong Kong, 2018)

“Will I stay or will I leave this room that felt the best? A brief first hand account of my darker days in depression, journeying through my tangled thoughts to the exit.”

Party Of Two (14 min.) (Dir. Maria Alvarez, United States, 2018)

“Over the course of one night, Maxine encounters a carefree woman who helps her discover a reason to live.”

What are the moments after discovering your brother’s suicide like? Jacob tells the true traumatic story.

Jacob (9 min.) (Dir. Bobby Chase, United States, 2018)

“After finding his older brother’s lifeless body, the suicide prompts cathartic changes in a young man. A true story about discovering the importance of humor amongst life’s darkest moments.”

Brushes With Life: Art, Artists & Mental Illness (27 min.) (Dir. Philip Brubaker, United States, 2008)

“Eight artists living with various mental health diagnoses talk about their experiences and the gallery that brings them all together.”

Followed By Q&A With Director Philip Brubaker

Shorts Block No. 2

Doctors Don’t Cry (13 min.) (Dir. Nathan Xia, United States, 2018)

“A Chinese mother and her depressed son struggle to repair their relationship strained by the pressures of social media and academics.”

Gray Umbrella (8 min.) (Dir. Mohammad Poustindouz, Islamic Republic of Iran, 2017)

“Mr. Maleki has a permanent habit, until a man with an umbrella enters his life.”

Jeff Vs. The Mailbox: “You have no idea how long his driveway is.”

Jeff Vs. The Mailbox (16 min.) (Dir. Dru Wortham, United States, 2018)

“An agoraphobic recluse is forced to traverse through the unknown to retrieve that which matters most to him. . . his mail.”

Antelope (16 min.) (Dir. Ben Grace, United Kingdom, 2017)

“After being released from hospital, a conflicted twenty-something struggles to reconnect with her family following a failed suicide attempt.”

Bullets (11 min.) (Dir. Travis Neal, United States, 2017)

“A story of suicide and pizza.”

Followed By Q & A With Director Travis Neal

Stepping Out (7 min.) (Dir. Billie Eichstadt, Australia, 2018)

“A young woman struggles to overcome her OCD in order to go on a date.”

October 13, 2019, 3:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

Shorts Block No. 1

The Bird (9 min.) (Dir. Sakari Sankinnen, Finland, 2018)

“Matias (12) has once again struggled through one ponderous school day. After school he ran all the way back home, where he could breathe and set his over-compulsive-order free.”

The Club That No One Wants To Belong To (14 min.) (Dir. David Grewe, United States, 2018)

“This documentary chronicles the life of author Michelle Miller, of San Diego, CA, a middle-aged widow, and how she and her family are dealing with the suicide death of her husband John. Miller often refers to herself as ‘The Widow Bitch.'”

Blessed Days (13 min.) (Dir. Valentina Casadei, France, 2017)

“Adèle, an 85 years old lady, confronts very hardly the loss of her husband, after 63 years of shared life. An unexpected dream will bring Adele to relive the last moments of their life together, at the museum. She will be able to overcome the pain.”

Assisted Suicide (21 min.) (Dir. Herb Cremer & Joe Cremer, United States, 2019)

The Cremer Brothers’ short film Assisted Suicide is one of the rare dark comedies about suicide, posing the universal question: How does one choose to end it all?

“Kristen’s suicide is hindered when her friend Nancy decides to help her.”

Royal Blood (15 min.) (Dir. Benjamin Rouse, Canada, 2018) (U.S. Premiere)

“A privileged young woman tries to find the compassionate higher ground when she is torn between the narcissistic insecurities of her former beauty queen mother and The Queen, a mentally ill homeless woman who puts on regal airs.”

Shorts Block No. 2

All That You Love Will Be Carried Away (14 min.) (Dir. Kasey Rae, United States, 2018)

“Alfie Zimmer is a suicidal salesman with a notebook full of everyone else’s stories. But tonight he’s forcing himself to figure out the ending to his own.”

In My Head (10 min.) (Dir. Dean Gild, Australia, 2018)

“When your head is full of insecurities, fear can rule reality.”

Afterglow (12 min.) (Dir. Akira Kamiki, Brazil, 2017)

“Afterglow is a sensorial movie about finding the joy of living again. David discovers that his boyfriend Allen is suffering from depression and, in the course of a day, makes him see the beauty and pleasure of the most mundane things.”

I Came From The Future (4 min.) (Dir. Dave Lojek, Germany, 2018)

“A brooding businessman reads his own suicide note on a roof. He ponders many questions about time travel.”

A Son Like Others (19 min.) (Dir. Antonio Sequeira, Portugal, 2019)

“Dinis is a teenager and like others wants to go to university. But he has recently been diagnosed with schizophrenia. His mum wants him to have a normal life but she also needs to protect him. Can she do both?”

See You Tomorrow (3 min.) (Dir. Katarzyna Kochany, Canada, 2018)

“Two macho cops, secretly haunted by PTSD, find deeper camaraderie in the aftermath of a case that pushed them both to the brink.”

Fiona Wright demonstrates how art imitates life imitates art in Farewell Happy Fields.

Shorts Block No. 3

Farewell Happy Fields (16 min.) (Dir. Kylie Aoibheann McDonnell, Australia, 2017)

“An intimate, unconventional portrait of anorexia and depression featuring award-winning author Fiona Wright.”

D.A.P. Inside Other Places (10 min.) (Dir. Luca Angioli, Italy, 2019)

“Mr. Pascal is in the waiting room of a doctor waiting to be visited, and this expectation immediately becomes a source of great anxiety, which our protagonist projects towards other people in the room with him. The announcement by the doctor’s assistant of a delay by the latter triggers a real panic attack, which turns into a hallucinatory and hypnotic journey in the lives and minds of all the people present in that small room.”

For A Better Life (10 min.) (Dir. Yasmin Mistry, United States, 2018)

“Sold for $100 at the age of 5, Fekri suffers through years of abuse before his plight is discovered. After almost a year of hospitalization and therapy Fekri moves into a group home where he finds support, mentorship, and eventual forgiveness towards the family which sold him.”

Closing Night Film

“I think my depression is sexy,” declares spoken word artist Kat Dolan in her visual tone poem Nobody But Myself.

Nobody But Myself (6 min.) (Dir. Kat Dolan, United States, 2018)

“Nobody but Myself is a love poem to my depression,” says poet Kat Dolan. “She keeps my life interesting and by choosing to accept her for exactly who she is, rather than hiding or trying to fight her, I have found happiness in being nobody but myself.”

Followed By Q & A with Kat Dolan

Mental Filmness 2019 Awards

Realism Award: Awarded to Philip Brubaker for Brushes With Life: Art, Artists, and Mental Illness

Stigma Breaker Award: Awarded to Kat Dolan for Nobody But Myself

Empathy Award: Awarded to Sakari Sankinnen for The Bird

Audience Award: Awarded to Dru Wortham for Jeff Vs. The Mailbox

MENTAL FILMNESS 2020 (First Virtual Festival Hosted Through Eventive From October 10 7:00 p.m. – November 1 9:00 p.m.)

Shorts Block No. 1

Forgetting Alan Watts (5 min.) (Dir. Charlotte Grady, United States, 2020)

“A young man with intense anxiety must prepare for a job interview, attempting to practice various creative coping skills newly given to him by his therapist.”

High Flying Jade (21 min.) (Dir. Katherine Sweetman, Vietnam, 2019)

“Walking the line between mindfulness and adrenaline rush, an American, bipolar, aerialist tries to reconcile her suicidal inclinations, her past life as an air traffic controller, and the pressures of training for opening night at the Vietnamese circus.”

a cloud on fire (15 min.) (Dir. Julie Gaston, Germany, 2020)

“Anxiety is keenly felt within today’s hyperreal world. Increasingly, humans are disconnected. A Cloud On Fire is an experimental reflection on the subjective sensation of anxiety, its different dimensions, and absurd proportions – an experimental documentary.”

An altered suicide note spreads hope in Anything Helps.

Anything Helps (4 min.) (Dir. Dakota Blose, United States, 2020)

“An altered suicide note travels throughout the city and affects struggling people in a positive way.”

Medicating & Healing (26 min.) (Dir. Seamus Bestwick, United States, 2020)

“Dealing with mental health from the perspective of a schizophrenic and his boyfriend, his caretaker, and how this all affects their relationship.”

Shorts Block No. 2

A Black Sleep (21 min.) (Dir. Mark DiStefano, United States, 2020)

“I just can’t operate that way,” the young protagonist of A Black Sleep tells her therapist, regarding her depression.

“A woman wrestles with her depression, which is preventing her from dating, pursuing her artistic ambitions, performing well at work, and even from getting up in the morning.”

Dagny (7 min.) (Dir. Bjorn Sortland, Norway, 2019)

“It’s 1975 in a small valley in Norway. A young girl is committing herself to a psychiatric ward. On the bus traveling to the hospital she’s the only passenger, and meets the bus driver who has just seen the movie ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.’ She is experiencing the worst bus ride ever.”

Alberta # 3 (15 min.) (Dir. Kyle Terrence, Canada, 2018)

“Alberta #3 is a meditation on family, heredity, madness, and time. It is a body of collected fieldnotes of artist and writer Bradley Necyk as he explored his experience as an intergenerational being—finding a line from his ancestors through himself to his children, his children’s children, and his children’s children’s children. He experiences and reflects on madness through both his doctoral research at a psychiatric hospital and his own mania following that research. Directed by Kyle Terrence and performed by Necyk, this film weaves larger, longer stories of madness and time.”

SOLA (8 min.) (Dir. Zoltán Debreczeni, Hungary, 2020)

“A woman working in the IT sector has to deal with work-related stress all alone, while her nightmares slowly turn into reality.”

The First Responder (27 min.) (Dir. Rajan Gangahar, United States, 2019)

“The film follows the story of Sam, a heroic EMT veteran beset by inner turmoil. Sam exhibits symptoms of PTSD as it starts to affect his household, employment, and his mental state. Haunted by an incident involving a young child, Sam’s deepening depression manifests in his drinking, anti-social behavior, irritability with co-workers, and the growing distance from his wife. Machismo prevents him from acting on his condition until a directive from his boss sends an unwilling Sam to a therapy session. Sam’s courage in finally facing his inner fears illustrates the possibility of a new and more positive future.”

Shorts Block No. 3

Glimmers of Light (8 min.) (Dir. Lorenzo Borghini, Italy, 2019)

Glimmers of Light captures a feeling more common since the pandemic: the anxiety of leaving the safety of home.

“Carlo hasn’t left home for six months because of a strong panic attack. He spends his time with online chats, videogames, manga comics, and movies. He has now become an hikikomori but a phone call by his sister and then a girl met while chatting will both trouble his daily routine.”

Tears Teacher (10 min.) (Dir. Noemie Nakai, Japan, 2019)

“Yoshida is a self-proclaimed ‘tears teacher.’ A firm believer that regular crying promotes healthier living, he’s made it his mission to make more people weep.”

Jumper (15 min.) (Dir. Badewa Ajibade, Nigeria, 2020)

“Sade Adeyanju, a woman suffering from an anxiety disorder, depression, and schizophrenia drives to a hotel where she plans to end all her pain and suffering.”

Left Opened: A Collaboration About Anxiety (15 min.) (Dir. Christine Bissonnette, Canada, 2020)

“Left Opened is a poetry, improvised piano, and improvised dance collaboration about the experience of anxiety.

Centered around a five-part narrative poem, this project was not about offering solutions, or about telling a hero’s narrative that turns anxiety into a villain that we needed to beat down or destroy by the end. Collectively, we were very specifically interested in exploring the experience of anxiety; the sensations, melodies, metaphors, and movements we’ve associated with anxiety at different times in our lives.”

In Love With Craziness (21 min.) (Dir. Melanie Ekholdt, Norway, 2020)

“A young man’s struggle with ADHD, his portal to drug use; he experiences a metamorphic coming of age through the creative energy of rap music.”

Shorts Block No. 4

In the sci-fi short film Artificial Institution, robot helpers assist those recovering from suicide attempts in learning how to live again.

Artificial Institution (12 min.) (Dir Jeffrey Baldinger, United States, 2020)

“In the not so distant future, Warren must work through the repercussions of his choices with the help of an unlikely ally.”

I Want You To Live (15 min.) (Dir. Leah Renaud, Canada, 2020)

“A documentary exploring the ways in which three people – a news anchor, a playwright, and a graphic designer – use their different mediums to talk about suicide.”

Nervosa (12 min.) (Dir. Thessa Meijer, Netherlands, 2019)

“Jade lives with her friends Rex and Bo in a secluded mobile home, surrounded by a dense conifer hedge. At first sight, it seems like a normal friendship, but soon it turns out to be more like a hostage situation. Meanwhile, a woman is desperately trying to get through to Jade.”

Broken (14 min.) (Dir. Jillian Reeves, United States, 2020)

“A powerful, heart-rending story about a family coping with the effects of a loved one’s untreated mental illness while losing faith in the system that continues to fail them.”

Parlour Palm (24 min.) (Dir. Rebeccah Love, United States, 2020)

“An overworked lawyer attempts to care for his partner while she descends into a climate-change-anxiety fuelled manic episode.”


Alexandre the Fool / Alexander Odyssey (1 hr. 5 min.) (Dir. Pedro Pires, Canada, 2019)

“Fifteen years after a psychotic event on the South China Sea flipped his life upside down, Alex, a sensitive, refined, and schizophrenic man, is at a crossroads. His grand-mother and confidante, who would like to die with peace of mind, insists that he tries to find a girlfriend. His encounter with a young psychotic woman gives birth to an ardently passionate relationship, making him slowly drift away from his usual emotional boundaries. While the South China Sea’s troubled waters well up in his mind, he gradually isolates himself, in danger of being swallowed by paranoia’s unfathomable abyss. An intimate odyssey, at once troubling and sublime.”

I’m Good Bro: Unmasking Black Male Depression (55 min.) (Dir. Corbin Coleman & Charles Crouch, United States, 2019)

“In this film we address the historical impact of depression in its many forms. From the roots of slavery, those who were formally incarcerated, the impact on day to day personal and professional relationships, and the effects on and from the church. This documentary follows the journey of individuals with firsthand experience dealing with depression from the perspective of those who have personally dealt with or who have been diagnosed with the disease. This film also provides professional insight from counselors, licensed professional therapists, and spiritual advisers.”

In Inside The Rain, writer-director Aaron Fisher plays college film student Benjamin Glass, who has ADHD, OCD, borderline personality disorder, and bipolar disorder. But he prefers to think of himself as “recklessly extravagant.”

Inside The Rain (1 hr. 30 min.) (Dir. Aaron Fisher, United States, 2019)

“College film student Benjamin Glass (played by writer-director Aaron Fisher) has it all: ADHD, OCD, borderline personality. And he’s also bipolar. But Glass is more than his diagnoses – he prefers the term ‘recklessly extravagant’– and he’s determined to prove his genius. When a misunderstanding threatens to expel him from college, Glass pushes back; he plans on recreating the incident on video, with the help of a moonlighting porn actress (Ellen Toland), to clear his name. But how will he raise the money for the film, when his parents dismiss the scheme as another manic episode?”

Riptide (1 hr. 30 min.) (Dir. Tim Barrow, United Kingdom, 2019)

“Discharged from a psychiatric hospital, Jacob attempts to resume his life in Edinburgh, control his schizophrenia, and be a worthy member of society. He works collecting litter from the streets. He boxes. He takes his medication. He writes everything down. His Dad barely wants to know him. Frustrated by this banal existence and encouraged by his psychiatrist to seek fulfilling opportunities, Jacob sets off to the Highlands in search of adventure. By the sea he finds the charismatic Eva, who claims to be the secret daughter of Ingmar Bergman. And she’s on a mission. Jacob and Eva join forces and embark upon adventures.”

“Steve”- Saving men from suicide. (1 hr. 30 min.) (Dir. Ben Akers, United Kingdom, 2018)

“Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.

12 men a day. 1 every 2 hours.

One of those men was Steve Yates. But Steve was more than a number, he was a father, a son, a brother, and a friend.

Director Ben Akers’s childhood best friend.

In this 90 minute Documentary Ben goes on a mission to look at why this is happening. And what men can do to help themselves.”

Through The Cracks (1 hr. 30 min.) (Dir. Ben Scholle, United States, 2019)

Deeply troubled schizophrenic man Johnny Johnson fell through the cracks of the mental health system and committed one of the most horrific crimes. Does he deserve the most horrific punishment?

“In July, 2002, Johnny Johnson was arrested and charged with the abduction and murder of 6-year-old Cassandra Williamson in Valley Park, Missouri. The effects of the crime continue to reverberate in the community. During the capital murder trial, a proceeding clouded by questions of mental illness and competency, a juror described the killing as ‘the worst possible crime.’ This film seeks to answer the question: Does the worst possible crime deserve the worst possible punishment?”

Twoub Mantal (Healing A Nation) (1 hr. 12 min.) (Dir. Jean-René Rinvil, Haiti, 2020)

“The story behind ‘Twoub Mantal (Healing A Nation)’ is that a few years ago, a social worker, Richard Saintal, from the Cite Soleil region of Port-au-Prince suffered what appeared to be a traumatic psychotic break. Richard’s preventable death while in residential care at a psychiatric hospital in Haiti was an outrage which underscores how many disadvantaged individuals with mental disorders who reach out to the Haitian Mental Health system fail to receive help. In fact, these individuals may face neglect, poor care, and eventually life-threatening conditions.”

Mental Filmness 2020 Awards

Stigma Breaker Award – Awarded to In Love With Craziness

Empathy Award – Awarded to Medicating & Healing

Realism Award – Tie Between Through The Cracks & I’m Good Bro: Unmasking Black Male Depression

Audience Award – Awarded to A Black Sleep


Second Virtual Festival Through Eventive From October 9 7:00 p.m. – November 1 7:00 p.m.

Shorts Block No. 1

The Dinner Party (9 min.) (Dir. Wendy Placko, United States, 2020)

“A woman is served an absurd dish and attempts to make it discreetly disappear from her plate.”

Her Resolve (4 min.) (Dir. Marissa Dingman, United States, 2021)

“After enduring the loss of her father, a daughter navigates past remorse to find closure by using the creativity he had fostered, and her connection with her younger sister.”

Through dramatic visual imagery and evocative verse, young Maya Sarfowah hopes to raise mental health awareness by directly communicating her own experience with a depressive episode. “Depression is real,” says Sarfowah.

Why I Disappeared (15 min.) (Dir. Maya Sarfowah, Ghana, 2021)

“A young girl explains the cause of her disappearance with a visual depiction of her battle with depression.”

Follow My Brain (13 min.) (Dir. Robyn Thomas, Canada, 2020)

“What would you do if one day you could no longer trust your reality – especially as a young boxer? For Cam Webster, it was a punch in the gut. But like any good fighter, he gets back up again.”

Goodnight Mr. Vincent Van Gogh (7 min.) (Dir. Lindsey Doolittle, United States, 2021)

“How can we talk to our children about suicide?

This animation was created to help support those who have lost someone to suicide and promote forward thinking on suicide awareness.

The animation is based on the children’s book, ‘Goodnight Mr. Vincent Van Gogh,’ which is on permanent display in the Vincent Van Gogh Library in Nuenen, Netherlands.”

Shorts Block No. 2

The Cuckoo’s Nest (Das Kuckucksnest) (14 min.) (Dir. Thomas Perathoner, Italy, 2020)

“Three doctors running the psychiatric ward in a hospital are nervous because of an announced ministerial inspection. They struggle even more, as who they face is more interested in patients’ health, than on the economics. So even social, economic, political, and religious aspects matter.”

On The Couch With My Depression (6 min.) (Dir. Angharad Gladding, New Zealand, 2020)

“Full of excited anticipation, a poet plans to go to a book party. Then along comes depression. A film about yearning simply to be able to clean your teeth and leave the house.

Based on the poem ‘I was going to go to Dorothea Lasky’s book party in Brooklyn, but instead I stayed on the couch with my depression, not crying’ by Paula Harris.”

S.O.B.E.R. – DWI Courts and the Transformation from Addiction to Recovery (22 min.) (Dir. Justin Jarrett, United States, 2021)

“Over 1.5 million people are arrested every year in the United States of America for DWI offenses. S.O.B.E.R. DWI Courts and the Transformation from Addiction to Recovery is a film that chronicles how one court decided to take a different approach to the problem.”

Tomorrow’s Hope (16 min.) (Dir. Christian Ryan, Canada, 2019)

“Kayla, a young First Nations woman, begins experiencing crippling self-doubt, personified in the form of a sinister entity. As its influence grows, affecting her schoolwork and relationships, a crushing sense of hopelessness threatens to overwhelm her. Only through the support and inspiration of her friends, family, and culture will Kayla find the confidence she needs to defeat her inner demon.”

“I’m not done living yet!” Kagan Goh cries out to the vultures circling above him, before his cat comes along to diffuse his psychotic episode in this true story.

The Day My Cat Saved My Life (7 min.) (Dir. Kagan Goh, Canada, 2021)

“Based on a true-life story of a severe psychotic episode which brings the narrator to the brink of suicide, where he is eventually found and saved by his cat.”

Shorts Block No. 3

Dragon Quest (10 min.) (Dir. Noppatad Luangvaranan, Singapore, 2021)

“Benjamin goes through a few different counsellors in order to find a solution for his bout of anxiety and depressive episodes. He fails to find the right one. With each failed attempt, he puts more metaphorical armour on himself as a defense mechanism, eventually hindering his everyday life. But in the end he does find his counsellor, and learns that with the right help, he can obtain the right tools he needs to vanquish his draconic issues.”

Too Late (15 min.) (Dir. Kinga Syrek, Poland, 2021)

“The protagonist of the animated film is Edie Sedgwick, a model, actress, and star of Andy Warhol’s films. The film, however, is not about her relationship with Warhol, but the relationship with her toxic father. Her difficult childhood has cast a shadow on her adult life, soaked with alcohol and filled with drugs. The protagonists are depicted in silhouettes, resembling paper cut-outs or puppets from a shadow theatre. Their character traits are embodied by animal motifs, to achieve a universal story rather than a specific story; whether or not you are famous, sometimes it is too late to reverse fate.”

Bridging The Gap (6 min.) (Dir. Nina J. Ross, United Kingdom, 2021)

“At age 18 Meg started hearing a voice. She tried ignoring it, didn’t tell a soul, yet the voice grew. More abusive, more delusional, and often completely out of her control. Eventually, her paranoia wore her down. She experienced ‘an explosion of mental health,’ followed by years of medical intervention and institutions.

‘Bridging the Gap’ offers a snapshot of Meg’s world as she grapples with the boundaries between her internal delusions and her everyday life. This film will challenge your perspective on hearing voices, open your eyes on medicalisation, and beg the question ‘what even is reality?'”

Glove (15 min.) (Dir. Tony Holland, United States, 2021)

“The true story of Richard Glover Jr., a 27 year old Veteran, who struggles with life after the Army.”

Distortion (14 min.) (Dir. Daniel van Aldere, Portugal, 2021)

“After a failed suicide attempt, Eugene finds himself torn between reality and delusion. Unable to remember his past apart from vague memories from his childhood growing up in a hospital, Eugene decides to consult a psychic, only to find out in the end the terrible truth.”

Shorts Block No. 4

I Am A Black Hole (4 min.) (Dir. Ronald James Baculo, Philippines, 2021)

“An anxious young man becomes obsessed with black holes. The question is: will he let his obsession and anxiety define him and consume him… just like a black hole? Or can he escape the ‘event horizon’ of his troubled life and be more than just his mental illness?”

Detective Roland Downs must manage his own depression to save others in the unique animation Depression Of Detective Downs 2.

The Depression of Detective Downs 2: On Depression’s Edge (19 min.) (Dir. Anthony Thurman, United States, 2011)

“Detective Rolando Downs is back and this time he has to locate a missing man while trying to keep the emotional and physical symptoms of his depression under control.”

Today Or Not Today (10 min.) (Dir. Pete Eliot, United Kingdom, 2020)

“On the day of a long-awaited audition, an actor battles with her anxiety.”

CHOL (16 min.) (Dir. Nandini Bapat, United States, 2020)

“Nalini has a seemingly average life, but underneath the surface, she struggles with something she cannot name.”

Liquid Human (9 min.) (Dir. Giulio Fiore, Belgium, 2020)

“A young woman and a shaman can hear voices in their head. The voices are similar, but not quite the same.”


The Awakening of Lilith (1 hr. 22 min.) (Dir. Steven Adam Renkovish, United States, 2021)

“A woman finds herself in the midst of a dark mystery after the unexplained loss of a loved one. Her mind begins to unravel as her sense of reality begins to slip away.”

An Ocean Between The Waves (51 min.) (Dir. David Redhead, United Kingdom, 2021)

“This debut film written & directed by David Redhead is a dreamy and evocative snapshot of a young woman’s journey to better manage her anxiety.

Sarah, a recently qualified therapist, makes an impression on a naive Crystal.

It isn’t long before their relationship goes beyond professional protocol and Crystal begins to question everything from her sanity and even her sexuality.”

Devil’s Food Cake (48 min.) (Dir. Marcia Kelson, United Kingdom, 2021)

“Jenny and Frank are at their wits’ end. Daughter Sophie won’t eat. And her sister Katie is frantic with worry. Can Jenny tempt Sophie with her strawberry pavlova? Will family therapist Jasmine’s animal analogies help them find a way forward? Or will the mysterious Ana thwart all attempts at recovery?”

The Healer and the Psychiatrist (1 hr. 14 min.) (Dir. Mike Poltorak, United Kingdom, 2019)

“In the South Pacific Island group of Vava’u, the traditional healer Emeline Lolohea treats people affected by spirits. One day away by ferry, the only Tongan Psychiatrist Dr Mapa Puloka has established a public psychiatry well known across the region. Though they have never met in person, this film creates a dialogue between them on the nature of mental illness and spiritual affliction. Their discussion offers challenges and opportunities to help address the growing global mental health crisis.”

Mad Love (53 min.) (Dir. Issa Ibrahim; Geo Geller (Asst.); Gregor Collins (Asst.), United States, 2020)

“What do you get when 2 artists meet in an asylum and are tested by time, trust, faith, and the power of creativity?


A true story of art and romance in and out of the asylum.”

Mental As Everything (55 min.) (Dir. Damon Smith, Australia, 2021)

“Damon Smith has estimated that he has spent around 50 thousand hours of his life, so far, participating in absurd ritualistic behaviours associated with his obsessive Compulsive Disorder. With a diagnosis of both, OCD and Bipolar Disorder, and with the help of his anxious friend, Adam, these two touring Australian musicians will share, with original music, preposterous humour, and outlandish animations, the intricate and debilitating nature of what it is like to live and talk about mental illness in a world where it’s ok to talk about a broken arm but not ok to talk about a broken mind.”

My Ascension (1 hr. 30 min.) (Dir. Greg Dicharry, United States, 2021)

Teenager Emma Benoit attempted to end her life with her father’s gun, emerged paralyzed but alive, and has used her own challenges to become a passionate advocate for suicide prevention.

“On June 7, 2017, Emma Benoit, a successful student and popular varsity cheerleader, takes her father’s gun, aims it at her chest, and fires. While her life is saved, the bullet wound leaves her paralyzed, and as Emma begins the arduous process of recovery, including the goal of one day walking again, she is propelled to use her experience to help others, while also shedding light on a suicide epidemic that is devastating communities around the globe.”

Orchestrating Change (1 hr. 30 min.) (Dir. Margie Friedman & Barbara Multer-Wellin, United States, 2019)

“ORCHESTRATING CHANGE is the feature documentary film that tells the inspiring story of Me2/Orchestra, the only orchestra in the world created by and for people living with mental illness and those who support them. Co-founded by Ronald Braunstein, once a world-renowned conductor whose career was shattered when his own diagnosis of bipolar disorder was made public, the mission of the orchestra is to erase stigma one exhilarating concert at a time. As they rehearse, perform and then, prepare for a major concert, these extraordinary musicians have no idea how much the orchestra will change their lives in poignant and powerful ways. While they face struggles including hospitalizations, even incarceration, they always return to the orchestra.”

Seeking Oblivion (1 hr. 27 min.) (Dir. Brent Baird & Becker Brothers, Canada, 2020)

“Seeking Oblivion follows the story of a young man struggling with depression and a post suicide attempt. Is he broken, or are those around him who are supposed to be helping him actually in need of him more?

Everyone is a lost soul…Sometimes…”

Sleep Is For The Strong (54 min.) ( Dir. Sahar Hakim-Hashemi, United States, 2020)

“The Sleep is for the Strong documentary film features over 50 MIT students sharing personal stories of student life challenges and mental health issues with suggestions for improvement to raise awareness and initiate a conversation on bringing about healthier student lifestyles.”

Why Me? (1 hr. 20 min.) (Dir. Earlena Brown & Dullegan Coleman, United States, 2021)

“Crystal is a very outgoing preteen who loves people, loves her life, and loves just living. One day she started to change but everyone just assumed she was going through puberty. She started acting out. She started being disrespectful and she started to withdraw from the people who loved her very much. She had to try to accept her fate. She had to come to grips with her reality. No one wanted to see and accept it until they had no choice. Mrs. Black is a very strong woman but her strength is put to the test when she has to come to grips with the fact that she has a child with a mental illness. She finds strength but almost loses herself in the process. This heart wrenching drama will challenge your views and even make you ask the question WHY ME.”

Mental Filmness 2021 Awards

Stigma Breaker Award

Awarded to Orchestrating Change

Realism Award

Tie Between Why I Disappeared & Seeking Oblivion

Empathy Award

Tie Between Liquid Human & Goodnight Mr. Vincent Van Gogh

Audience Award

Awarded to Mental As Everything


Live Program

October 15, 2022, at the Davis Theater, 7:00-10:00 P.M.

After: A Love Story (14 min.) (With Writer-Actress-Producer Alyssa Thordarson In Conversation)

“After surviving a violent event, a couple tries to overcome the space trauma created between them.”

A Story Worth Living (1 hr. 36 min.) (With Writer-Director-Actress Vanessa Leonard In Conversation)

After years in connection, we finally screened Vanessa Leonard’s A Story Worth Living, a warm and relatable look at family depression.

“Allison Foster and her childhood best friend, Melissa, find themselves attending the same college. Wanting to end her junior year strong, overachiever Allison receives a class assignment that goes beyond the classroom and encourages her to perceive life in a more positive light. Coming from a family that has a past of dealing with mental illness, Allison strives to obtain a more optimistic view with the help of her new boyfriend, Jacob Russell. However, Allison’s merry shift of focus may be short-lived, as she did not foresee what was about to change everything.”

Third Virtual Festival Through Eventive From October 8 7:00 p.m. – November 6 7:00 p.m.

Shorts Block No. 1

Don’t Worry About It (12 min.) (Dir. Melissa Kong, United States, 2021)

“After her father’s death, a young woman’s obsessive-compulsive disorder spirals out of control. She enters an intensive therapy program, where she must learn to deal with his death and OCD before it takes over her life.”

The Weight of the Inevitable (24 min.) (Dir. Alberto Dalla, United Kingdom, 2022)

“What is thanatophobia? The fear of no longer existing is a mental health issue that heavily affects thousands of people’s lives. Yet, its lack of general awareness and specialised medical support forces thanatophobics to create their own support groups in order to find help. This documentary explores the common symptoms, roots and effects of thanatophobia, hoping to raise awareness towards this mental health issue.”

Breathe (3 min.) (Dir. Emily Crawford, Canada, 2022)

“When a shy young girl tries to make some friends at the playground, she gets attacked by a swarm of anxiety. She learns the power of taking a breath, and that she is not alone in her struggle.”

Just In Case (14 min.) (Dir. Kirsty Robinson-Ward, United Kingdom, 2021)

Writer-actress April Kelley won audiences over with her vulnerability in Just In Case, a simple slice-of-life short film featuring a daddy-daughter conversation about what it’s like to have bipolar disorder.

“Within the ambiguous safety of a service station, a concerned father and his scared daughter take refuge. Rachel lives with bipolar disorder and the invisibility of her condition has become all too real for both herself and Mark. What happens when they realise that neither of them could save her life? In collaboration with Bipolar UK, ‘Just in Case’ explores the harsh reality of what it’s really like to live with bipolar disorder.”

Happy Anyway (9 min.) (Dir. Ahmet Serdar Karaca, Turkey, 2022)

“An illustrator who lost her boyfriend leaves her depressive days behind by drawing happy memories.”

Shorts Block No. 2

I Mustache You (13 min.) (Dir. Shara Ashley Zeiger, United States, 2021)

“‘I Mustache You’ is a whimsical magical realistic comedy, inspired by Buster Keaton, Looney Tunes, and NYC about Abby, a woman with social anxiety, OCD and agoraphobic tendencies, who receives an invitation to love, self acceptance, and the outside world.”

Sticks and Stones (4 min.) (Dir. Cynthia N. White & Alexander S. White, United States, 2021)

“A man sorts through the debris of his childhood, seeking help to untangle the differences between his own anxiety and depression, and the impact of toxic masculinity.”

Tough Guys Forget (11 min.) (Dir. Rob Riutta, United States, 2021)

Rob Riutta explores the shifting relationship between a depressed son and his father experiencing dementia and PTSD in his art film Tough Guys Forget.

“Tough Guys Forget is the story of a young man, depressed and unmoored, who has to tend to his father, an abusive man who has escalating symptoms of dementia and post traumatic stress disorder. Facing confusion and conflict, their evolving reactions force them to change their approach to life.”

A Black Cloud (5 min.) (Dir. Emma Lazenby, United Kingdom, 2022)

“Four women’s personal experiences of birth trauma, and their journey to recovery.”

A Dollhouse 2020: Dance of Sins (7 min.) (Dir. Melanie Ekholdt, Norway, 2021)

“A Dollhouse 2020 is one of several experimental short films in the art project Dance of Sins based on Henrik Ibsen’s play ‘A Doll’s House.’ In this short film, we meet Nora in 2020 who celebrates her birthday the year after her separation. Five other women have been invited to her birthday party in a bourgeois apartment on the west side of Oslo, Norway. They eat, drink and dance together. To explore the transition from being married to being separated, several symbols of birth have been used in this experimental short film. What is the role of support from other women in such rapid upheavals as both births and divorces represent? Can art give us any answers?”

Shorts Block No. 3

The Colorful Mind of Jayce Dean Parker (16 min.) (Dir Carley Kormanis, United States, 2021)

“A film about a boy whose portrait comes to life and leads him to see life through a more colorful eye.”

The Confidant (4 min.) (Dir. Naved Ahmed, India, 2021)

“The Confidant is the story of a housewife who is constantly on her phone, chatting, comforting and sharing a laugh with someone. It is by revealing the recipient of all of these calls that the film shares an important message about mental health.”

Naved Ahmed’s short The Confidant shines a spotlight on depression in women in India.

The Mind’s Image (19 min.) (Dir. Daniel Asadi Faezi, Germany, 2022)

“What does art therapy enable older, frail people to do? And which individual facets become visible through this? A research group on the subject of art therapy in old age is dealing with these questions. The film provides insights into art therapy work with residents of a nursing home.”

Equilibrium (5 min.) (Dir. Paballo Mokwena, South Africa, 2022)

“Retha Regale is a young and passionate visual fanatic, and the camera she uses tends to allow her to switch visual perceptions and even her entire personality.”

“Death is life’s grand gesture at rebirth.”

Borrowed Light (15 min.) (Dir. Madison Paige Kennedy, United States, 2021)

“Two best friends who share a love for music grow apart when one of them moves away for college and suffers a mental breakdown.”

Shorts Block No. 4

Masking (4 min.) (Dir. Lili Viràg Szuhay-Murciano, Italy, 2022)

“A comprehensive tutorial on how to make friends by…an expert (?).”

Equilibrium (18 min.) (Dir. Brit Leibovitz, Israel, 2021)

“Mika is celebrating her 27th birthday at the eating disorders rehabilitation house, where she lives, but she refuses to accept it. When the relationships with the rest of the tenants are too difficult to contain, her eating disorder raises its head.”

Keep Painting, Mom (12 min.) (Dir. Heloise Magny, Canada, 2021)

Heloise Magny’s animated short skillfully blends 2D and 3D animation to deliver the message “keep painting”–it may carry you through depression and suicidal thoughts.

“A young teenager suffering from depression enters his own psychological nightmare and must face his demons. Inside his own mind he will discover his true enemy, and the battle to find his purpose will begin…”

10-33 (12 min.) (Dir. Teryn Lawson, Canada, 2021)

“A paramedic battles her demons when a traumatic work event takes over her life.”

Make Up Your Mind (14 min.) (Dir. Hayley Anne Nash, United States, 2022)

“A young woman struggling with her mental health must decide whether or not to buy a new brain.”

Shorts Block No. 5

The Runner (7 min.) (Dir. Matthew M. Ferraro, United States, 2021)

“The Runner is a life affirming true story about a man’s battle to overcome mental illness, specifically depression and suicide.”

The Locked Door (18 min.) (Dir. Dmitry Badera, Ukraine, 2022)

In the Ukranian short The Locked Door, director Dmitry Badera tackles a subject that’s all too relatable these days—agoraphobia, the fear of going outside.

“An agoraphobic man has to overcome his fears in order to go outside and meet a woman in time.”

Where Monsters Lurk (13 min.) (Dir. Beth Ashby, United States, 2022)

“After weeks of withdrawing from the outside world, Kelly is now isolated, depressed, and self-medicating. She wakes up late in her dingey apartment and attempts to survive the day. If she’s lucky, she can do this in relative peace. If not, she suffers through a litany of cruel insults in her mind until she numbs herself. Unless she turns this spiral around, it will be the beginning of her end.”

Numb (20 min.) (Dir. Carlos Moreno Jr., United States, 2022)

“Escape the pain of fully living or “seize the day,’ courageously feeling all of life? A grieving widow’s prescription to get through loss could cost her everything. How far will she go to alleviate the pain? Will living NUMB get her through?

Getting through at any cost may cost Lola everything; her medical license, her two young daughters, and faith in herself.”

Feature Films

Bridge to the Other Side (1 hr. 40 min.) (Dir. KT Curran, United States, 2022)

“In a world that’s falling apart, a grieving widow struggling with her own grief and self-destruction fights to save young people struggling with a mental health crisis. Embedded with the fire department, she’s battling the men who don’t want her there, the clients who fight her tooth and nail, and her own wounded psyche. She wants to save the world, if the job doesn’t kill her first.”

Captain Wits (1 hr. 30 min.) (Dir. Philip Gontijo, Brazil, 2022)

“The grandfather of a former child star decides to become a superhero, and their friendship will be their power to fight death and a meaningless life.”

Drunk On Too Much Life (1 hr. 26 min.) (Dir. Michelle Melles, Canada, 2021)

“In a world gone crazy, a young woman discovers that her madness is a fierce and powerful gift that makes her more fully human.

This intimate feature documentary follows the filmmaker’s 21-year-old-daughter’s mind-opening journey from locked-down psych ward and countless medications towards expansive worlds of creativity, connection and greater meaning. On her journey of self-discovery, we learn how madness has meaning that goes far beyond brain chemistry and recovery is not a straight path to being cured but a crooked and bumpy journey and series of small awakenings.”

How to Explain Your Mental Illness to Stanley Kubrick (67 min.) (Dir. Philip Brubaker, United States, 2021)

Mental Filmness veteran Philip Brubaker returned to us with his funny, weird, and wonderful How to Explain Your Mental Illness to Stanley Kubrick–part video essay, part raw, vulnerable memories, and part inexplicable weird, fun energy, filmed during a rare psychotic episode.

“A filmmaker living with bipolar disorder stages an imaginary encounter with his hero, Stanley Kubrick, in order to confront him about his treatment of mental illness in his films. Through video essay and memoir, filmed during a rare psychotic episode, the filmmaker creates a tapestry of his experience with the debilitating brain disorder, complemented by a videographic study of Kubrick.”

Lift the Mask: Portraits of Life With Mental Illness (1 hr. 10 min.) (Dir. Marc D’agostino, United States, 2019)

“‘Portraits of Life with Mental Illness’ tells the harrowing, hopeful stories of six individuals living with behavioral and mental health diagnoses. From the onset of symptoms and the quest for a diagnosis to managing the subsequent treatments and medications, the film’s subjects frankly discuss the most difficult and traumatic moments of their journeys.”

Solstice (57 min.) (Dir. Helen Newman, Australia, 2022)

“This film is about survivors of suicide.

It began as a story of one regional Australian family who had lost their daughter to suicide but quickly became a document bearing witness to the need for urgent and radical change in mental health support as more and more survivors of suicide added their voice.”

Troubled Minds (1 hr. 46 min.) (Dir. Raitis & Lauris Abele, Latvia, 2021)

“Brothers Robert and Martin are a month away from their biggest yet contemporary art exhibition. To get creative juices flowing, Martin locks himself in a dark black 2 x 2-meter cube. Once out, his focus shifts and he decides to save the environment by finding Soviet Military chemical waste that was dropped in the Baltic Sea in the 90s. To seek tranquility Martin escapes to the very edge of the world – Northern Saami Lapland. Robert is forced to take a trip to find his eldest but a bipolar and disordered brother.”

Mental Filmness 2022 Awards

Hometown Heroes Award

Awarded to After: A Love Story

Most Dedicated Award

Awarded to A Story Worth Living

Realism Award

Awarded to The Locked Door

Stigma Breaker Award

Awarded to How to Explain Your Mental Illness to Stanley Kubrick

Empathy Award

Awarded to Just In Case

Audience Award

Awarded to Where Monsters Lurk