Leeds filmmakers tell the truth about mental health
'Films to Change' is a collective of filmmakers, many of whom have personal experience of mental health issues and make films about what it is like, supported by students and staff at Leeds Met. They are showing their work at a special event on Tuesday 12 November at Leeds Town Hall as part of the Film Festival.
The event will also highlight the partnership between the NHS Trust and the Northern Film School at Leeds Metropolitan University. Every year students are tasked with making short films that use the issues of mental health as a starting point.
'Films to Change' is co-ordinated by Arts & Minds, a project from Leeds & York Partnerships Foundation NHS Trust. The group was set up four years ago by development worker, Tom Bailey, who said: "We started making short films in response to what we were seeing on TV and in mainstream cinema. Too often films and TV shows use lazy clichés and stereotypes. We set out to tell the truth."
Jennifer Granville, Head of Enterprise for the School of Film, Music & Performing Arts at Leeds Met, commented: "The Northern Film School have been working with the NHS for three years now and it has been a brilliant experience for our students. They are given challenging briefs for three-minute films - which requires in-depth research into mental health issues, supported by the NHS experts. This results in them becoming advocates for educating the public in attitudes towards mental health - and also results in some great films that can be shown to a wider public. We see this as a perfect example of a creative partnership benefitting students, the NHS and the community."
Short films showing at the event include: 'Black Dog' and 'Up Stairs', both by Leeds Met Business Development Manager, Andrew Raby, and 'I Spy', directed by final-year BA (Hons) Film and Moving Image Production student, Sarah Lamb, alongside a team of Leeds Met students.
'Black Dog' follows a man plagued by visions of a foreboding presence that represents his depression; 'Up Stairs' is a two-minute film which looks at a character with dementia living in a nursing home; and 'I Spy' centres around Bella, a girl living with her father, a bipolar disorder sufferer. Using her dolls to escape from it all, imagination begins to merge with reality and matters soon spiral out of Bella's control. 'I Spy' won Best Drama at the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival this year.
The 'Films to Change' group is currently setting up as a social enterprise, ready to take commissions to make films for other people. Group member, Rob Pritchard, explained: "The idea is to give people with mental health issues the skills and experience to get a job in the industry, and at the same time try to break the stigma around mental health."
Tickets for the event, which starts at 6.30pm, are £6/£5 for concessions and are available from the Carriageworks, Millennium Square, or by calling 0113 224 3801. For more information, please contact Tom Bailey firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07807 036924.