Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival opens

300 events planned for passion-themed festival.

by Jennie Kermode

Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival
Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

Building up a social justice themed festival can be tough - they don't get the same kind of media attention as more general film festivals - but this year's Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, which opens today, has an amazing line-up of over 300 events taking place all around the country. Of these, a substantial number are films, including hit features like Silver Linings Playbook and Still Alice, and challenging documentaries like The Closer We Get.

For today only, the festival is engaging with creative groups across Scotland who are putting on events for World Mental Health Day. The aim of these events, and of the festival itself, is to draw attention to the number of people affected by different kinds of mental health condition and illustrate the ways their lives are changed as a result, helping to break down stigma and challenge the myth that mentally ill people are dangerous or can't function in the wider world.

The festival, which runs until the end of the month, will conclude with an awards ceremony presided over by a mixed jury of film and mental health experts. In the past it has proved an important platform for promoting the work of people struggling with mental illness themselves. This year it has also made a stand against another form of discrimination by ensuring that half of the feature-length films being screened are directed by women.

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