‘Time’ is the theme for the 2016 Festival, the very special 10th year, which will take place in venues across Scotland from 10th - 31st October.
The Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival (SMHAFF) today 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.
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 frontman 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
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.
This year’s film programme features over 50 features and short films, screening in cinemas and venues across the country, many of which will be accompanied by lively post-screening discussions of the issues involved. Most of the work showing in Edinburgh and Glasgow has been selected from entries to the festival's International Film Competition, which offers filmmakers from all over the world a chance to engage with new audiences and challenge perceptions around mental health. This year almost 1600 films from 100 countries were submitted (a 300% increase on last year’s submissions); the winners will be announced at a ceremony in Glasgow in the festival’s first week.
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.’
As previously announced, SMHAFF’s flagship production this year is One Thinks of It All As A Dream, a new play by Alan Bissett tracing Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett’s struggles with mental health and fame, and SMHAFF’s first-ever commission. The festival is delighted to announce that Ian Barrett, Syd’s nephew, will join Bissett, author and Pink Floyd expert John Cavanagh and music journalist Nicola Meighan for an evening of discussion, archive footage and music celebrating Syd’s life in the year he would have turned 70. The remaining members of Pink Floyd have given the play, and its soundtrack of the band’s music, their blessing.
For its tenth edition, the festival welcomes new associate artist Emma Jayne Park, a dancer, choreographer and long-term supporter of the festival. Park’s company, Cultured Mongrel Dance Theatre brings together unique combinations of skilled artists to create uncompromising performance work as a vehicle for social change, and this year for SMHAFF they tour the delightful Experts In Short Trousers, a piece of interactive dance theatre about a group of aliens on Earth, aimed at ages 4+. Park and Julia James-Griffiths also present The Box/Thinking In The First Person, a dance double bill exploring the impact of depression. Where The Crow Flies, a new work by Lisa Nicoll based on interviews with women in East Lothian, will also tour a number of venues across Scotland during the festival.
SMHAFF is also delighted to begin an exciting new collaboration with the National Theatre of Scotland, coming on board with their international community arts festival Home Away to co-host a day of discussions and events around future projects relating to mental health. Playwright Jo Clifford gives a talk exploring the impact of prejudice on transgender people, Pamela Carter discusses her new play on maverick psychiatrist RD Laing, and Cora Bissett directs an evening of performance including musical contributions from members of the Adam World Choir, a choir of transgender/ non-binary people from around the world, brought together for the National Theatre of Scotland’s forthcoming Eve/Adam project
One Thinks of It All As A Dream,
Mon 17 – Sat 22 Oct, Oran Mor, Glasgow
Syd Barrett: Dream & Reality
Thu 20 Oct, Oran Mor, Glasgow
Where The Crow Flies
Fri 21 Oct – Clarkston Hall, East Renfrewshire
Wed 26 Oct – Paisley Arts Centre, Paisley
SMHAFF @ Home Away: Sun 9 Oct, Tramway, Glasgow
International Film Competition Awards Ceremony: Tue 11 Oct, CCA, Glasgow
Shoulder The Lion: Wed 12 Oct, CCA, Glasgow
50% More Likely To Die CCA 10 October
#MyEscape Wed 12 Oct, CCA, Glasgow
Borderline with live score: Thu 13 Oct, CCA, Glasgow
A Family Affair: Sat 15, Oct CCA, Glasgow
Touched With Fire Mon 24 Oct, GFT, Glasgow
Moving Minds is a day-long, family-friendly takeover of Kelvingrove Museum in partnership with VoX (Voices of eXperience) celebrating diversity and wellbeing across communities with world music, dance and theatre. 15 October, 2016. A day celebrating wellbeing and diversity in our community. Music, interactive stalls and tours.
10am - 4pm
Drop into Kelvingrove
Music and Mental Health Day in Paisley features an examination of the effects of music on mental health, a therapeutic drumming workshop and a screening of the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy. 13 October, 2016. www.scottishrecovery.net/music-and-mental-health-day-13-october-2016/
Recovery Fest, a new addition to this year’s Renfrewshire programme, focuses on events that raise awareness of recovery for people with mental ill health and addiction experiences. Look out for workshops, jam sessions, film screenings, poetry readings and exhibitions.