Driving Us Crazy: A Festival About Madness in Society, and in All of Us

Carina Håkansson, PhD
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“We are who we are: where we were born, who we were born as, how we were raised. We’re kind of stuck inside that person, and the purpose of civilization and growth is to be able to reach out and empathize a little bit with other people. And for me, the movies are like a machine that generates empathy. It lets you understand a little bit more about different hopes, aspirations, dreams and fears. It helps us to identify with the people who are sharing this journey with us.”
— Roger Ebert

I am proud and happy to announce that our webpage DrivingUsCrazy has been launched. It will help us to get the word out about the international film festival taking place in Gothenburg, 16-18 October, 2015, and also to highlight the issue of madness every day until then — and hopefully for many days afterwards.

Hanna, a dear colleague of mine, has done a great job and she tells me every second hour how fast the message is spreading. And how many people who are dedicated to the mission to find alternatives to the – as yet — dominant medical model within psychiatry. A model which has spread also to schools, to social services, and which must be discussed and questioned before it is too late.

We have a vision of making a shift in our country; a hope that the film festival will be a turning point. Movies, researchers, people with own lived experience and artists from many contexts and countries will tell another story than the one told by traditional psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. We are determined to make space for other “truths.” We want to make room for people to tell their personal history: To extend the phenomenon called evidence-based knowledge.

For far too long time the discussion and the so-called knowledge have been narrow and limited. Even though a lot of people know there is another “truth” than the common one it has been very difficult to get the word out. Far too many times people have been told to shut their mouths. Far too many times we have been told that we exaggerate – that we are too emotional.

But, after all, human life is about emotions. It is not either this or that; it is about both, and… It is far too beautiful and complex to be expressed in a simple diagnostic term, and it far too dangerous for the dilemma to be “solved” by medications, especially when we still have no clue about how — or if — they work in the long term.

Movies touch people, make us feel, make the full range come out; the sadness, but also the hope and the strength. We hope for three strong and powerful days and nights and we welcome you to join us.

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Interview – Carina Hakansson from Mad in America on Vimeo.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Carina: Sounds like a wonderful project! Perhaps others could replicate or organize a similar event in their communities. I belong to a group (Rethinking Psychiatry) that has hosted a similar film festival for several consecutive years in the Portland (Oregon) area with great success.

    We encountered a few problems. Not calculating the cost of ‘burn out’ among our all volunteer crew, we broke even at the door (that is the good part) but since we lost our donated space at the UU church, our overhead is now much higher. Unless we can find a new property owner who will donate or give us a space at a substantially discounted rate, we will always be asking volunteer organizers to personally assume the financial risk of fronting the money for the festival.

    For this reason, I’m not sure when we will be able to offer another film festival in Portland (at least in the near future) but I would like to see a similar film festival in the Eugene area (120 miles away) where I live, in partnership with the local University and other non profit organizations. MFI and the local Opal Network have hosted movie night, but to my knowledge there has never been a full blown mad film festival in Eugene.

    I know there is a built in audience for this type of thing but these events typically require a lot of legwork to organize and promote. Many people are not willing to make cold calls, design the webpage and registration page, create the financial controls, engage in process (create a transparent decision making process for selecting the program) and attend the inevitable planning meetings to make all of it happen.

    Does anyone know of any international cultural organizations that would provide seed money to hire paid staff to organize a mad film festival in multiple cities throughout the world simultaneously? Is anyone interested in forming an international film festival organization that could either ‘go on the road’ or take place in several cities throughout the world simultaneously?

    Also, when I clicked on the first link in your article to learn more about your film festival, the link appears to be broken. Any chance you could post the link again? If not, could you please send a link to me personally? My email is [email protected]. Thanks!