Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival is BACK!

Photo by: David P Scott

The Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival (SMHAFF) announced its celebratory 10th annual programme, its most ambitious to date, featuring new theatre, film, music, comedy, visual art and literary events from some of the most exciting artists in Scotland and Europe, and spanning over 300 events across Scotland, opening on World Mental Health Day, Monday 10 October 2016.

Photo: alanbissett.com
Photo: alanbissett.com

Over the past decade SMHAFF, led by the Mental Health Foundation, has quietly grown into one of the biggest and most significant arts and film festivals in the country, with Scotland-wide audience numbers reaching over 25,000 and a wealth of arts events encouraging awareness of and creative responses to mental health. The theme of this year’s festival is ‘time’ – for the programming team that means time to reflect on what SMHAFF could become in the future. In celebration of its first decade, the festival has taken bold new steps this year, commissioning a new theatre work supported by Creative Scotland (One Thinks of It All As A Dream, Alan Bissett’s previously announced play about the life of Pink Floyd front man Syd Barrett), appointing its first associate artist in Emma Jayne Park, whose interactive dance work for children, Experts In Short Trousers, will tour the country. The festival’s annual International Film Competition is its biggest to date, and the tenth edition also heralds exciting new collaborations with other Scottish arts organisations, including the National Theatre of Scotland, Oran Mor, Traverse Theatre, Aberdeen Performing Arts, Dundee Literary Festival, Africa In Motion, Take One Action and Luminate

Photo: corabissett.co.uk
Photo: corabissett.co.uk

Look out for contributions from a number of major Scottish artists including bands Admiral Fallow and The Cathode Ray, theatre makers Cora Bissett, Jo Clifford, and Pamela Carter, writers Jenny Lindsay, Chitra Ramaswamy and Harry Giles, as well as the comedian Felicity Ward and YA authors Juno Dawson and Cat Clarke. Members of The Phantom Band will create an exciting new live score to the seminal 1930s avant-garde film Borderline, starring Paul Robeson. A packed film programme includes 3 Scottish, 4 UK and 2 European feature premieres, as well as the festival’s increasingly highly regarded International Film Competition, which this year saw a 300% rise in entrants; and multi-media exhibition Out of Sight Out of Mind works with over 100 artists across several venues all over the city.

Importantly, the festival still maintains its deep roots in communities across 17 local authority areas in Scotland. The hundreds of events packing out the festival programme this year are a real tribute to SMHAFF’s scope, ranging from grassroots local events to major national touring productions.

Lee Knifton, Head of the Mental Health Foundation, Scotland, said:

We’re delighted to be able to announce such a strong, diverse and vibrant programme for the tenth annual Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival. Over the past decade, we’ve worked with hundreds of artists and organisations across Scotland to challenge stigma, raise awareness and encourage creative responses to mental health. By commissioning our first-ever work of theatre, leading our largest ever International Film Competition and launching some high profile collaborations with some of the biggest arts organisations in the country this year, we’re making a big statement about where we hope the festival will be heading over the next ten years. This also seems like a great time to highlight the vital involvement of activists, grassroots organisations and local community groups in making the festival as successful as it is today. Here’s to another ten years.

Video courtesy of: Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

(For more info and programme CLICK HERE)

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