I’ve come to believe in the power of film not only to educate and spark dialogue, but also to catalyze personal transformation, as well as transformation of the sociopolitical landscape. Indeed, just as books like Anatomy of an Epidemic have changed the course of my life in the most profound of ways, so have films, especially the ones that have shaken the foundations of my inner framework, sometimes so much so that it seemed to demand reconfiguration. Films lead us to laughter and tears, to confusion and anger. Perhaps most importantly, films make us wonder, and question, and rethink the status quo, acting as reflective mirrors that show us who we are, or who we could be, in new and sometimes uncomfortable ways. I believe that good film is activism on the screen, and when used as a stimulus for public dialogue, it can significantly alter the course of an individual’s—or even a community’s—future.
We are excited to announce that from Thursday, October 9th through Sunday, October 12th, 2014, Mad in America will be hosting its first International Film Festival at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, Massachusetts, conveniently located just outside the city of Boston. Centered on the powerful medium of film, this unique event will bring together a collective of people from around the world who are committed to a shared cause: rethinking psychiatry and today’s mental health system.
The mission of Mad in America’s International Film Festival is rooted in a commitment to human rights and social justice, and our intention is to tell the evolving story of psychiatry over the past century, and to present films that question our current mental health system and highlight past and present-day alternatives. This four-day event will host short- and feature-length films, live performances, and visual art, as well as individual speakers and panels of filmmakers, producers, film subjects, and leading international voices from the Psychiatric Survivor and Critical Psychiatry movements.
We want to encourage our readers to join us in Massachusetts this fall at the Festival, and to spread the word far and wide to those you know. I have to say, I’m already fired up about the thought of sharing a space with a collective of passionate and inspiring people who are committed to rethinking today’s mental health system, watching a wide array of films from the past sixty years and from around the world, listening to informative and inspirational speakers, and, of course, having lots of fun!
*Please note* that we are now welcoming short- and feature-length film submissions, and in particular, we encourage students to submit, as well as filmmakers from outside the United States. The official deadline for submissions is May 1st, with a late deadline of June 1st. Please spread the word to filmmakers you know and see Mad in America‘s International Film Festival website for more information about the film submission guidelines and process, or for information on how to become a Film Festival sponsor, which will help you or your organization reach an international audience of those interested in alternatives to the traditional mental health system.
We encourage you to ‘like’ us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for news and updates, and please sign up for newsletters through our website, which in the coming months will be populated with film trailers, relevant news items, interviews, information about Festival panels and speakers, and information about tickets, lodging, travel, and transportation.
We hope to see you there!
Journeying Back To Self: Laura Delano is an ex-mental patient who writes about her thirteen years of psychiatric indoctrination, how she woke up in 2010, and what it’s been like to come off psychiatric drugs, leave the “mentally ill” identity behind, and rediscover an authentic connection to self and world.