2020 Shortlisted Films

And, on World Mental Health Day 2020, the winner is…

Huge thanks to everyone who submitted their work to the 2020 UNBROKEN Short Film Festival, to our brilliant judges, and to all those who took the time to watch and vote for the Audience’s Choice Award – the festival would be nothing without all of you. 🎬✨

This has been an extremely challenging year for everyone and we are delighted that we have still been able to bring UNBROKEN to the public in 2020, continuing to fulfil our mission not only to challenge people’s expectations about what a film on ‘mental health’ might involve, but also to open up some important conversations and help to further reduce the stigma.

And from the feedback we have received, it seems that our audience has been just as glad to see the Festival continue, and to have the chance to watch all of our fantastic shortlisted film-makers’ labours of love. Here are a just a few of their comments:

  • I thought all the films were really excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them all. I’m a psychologist working in Mental Health and this is a great selection of films highlighting different conditions. I would like to have voted for them all. 

  • All the films were thought provoking and gave me an insight into the suffering that a lot of people endure while appearing to live ‘normal’ lives. 

  • I love it that even [during] this pandemic year, we can still be watching festivals like this. 

  • Every film addressed its subject matter with sensitivity. Each taught me a little bit more about these various conditions than I knew yesterday, and I applaud each creator for their work. 

  • As a filmmaker myself with a short film on the festival circuit, I was intrigued to know that a festival like yours exists and am grateful for it. You will be finding a submission from me sometime soon. 

  • An excellent variety of fantastic films from a group of incredibly talented writers, actors and directors. Thought provoking and arresting content. 

  • Each year the films seem to be better and better and the raw emotion that permeates each project can be felt for long after the few minutes we have with each actor end. 

  • Love how they are all about topics that we don’t see on the mainstream. We need to be taking more about these issues and tell the upcoming generations that there is no shame in needing help, a friend to talk to about scary issues, and that nothing is shameful.

Our esteemed judges, Sam Cullis (Barnes Film Festival) and Claire and Anthony Bueno  (Premierescene.net, Bueno Productions and Cleanin’ Up The Town: Remembering Ghostbusters) took a very close look at all of the shortlist and were impressed by what they saw, while providing much food for thought:

There was a wide range of subjects, experience, objectivity, and tone. Production values were generally high. There was some very impressive cinematography and on occasion some disparity between significance of the subject and the fluidity of the film.

I felt I should be looking for an original perspective and the film maker’s commitment to reveal a human truth in a short and disciplined length of time. Difficult to find overarching ground amongst so many different ‘genres’, topics and tones. All had set out to do different jobs. Some films were strong on story but light on filming technique. Others were beautifully constructed but at the expense of a strong story.

The success of all of our shortlisters is undoubted and we are very grateful to Sam Cullis and the Barnes Film Festival that this has been further recognised by the generous awarding of free entry to the 2021 Barnes Film Festival to each of them! We will be in touch with everyone again early next week to ensure that they are all able to take advantage of this great opportunity.

Now, however, it is time to reveal our 2020 UNBROKEN Winner and Runner up, as chosen by the judges, and the Audience’s Choice Award, voted for by the public, who have been watching all twelve films over the last seven days…

2020 UNBROKEN Audience’s Choice Award

2020 UNBROKEN Runner Up

Judges’ comments: A delicate portrait of dementia. Very nicely shot, Cinematography was measured and well set up. The tension was mainly internalised and the overall impression was calm and almost every day. A quiet film about a tough subject matter. Simple and profound. Incidental and humane.

2020 UNBROKEN Winner

Judges’ comments: At only five minutes in length, Perinatal Positivity is an incisive piece of work. It was an intriguing and not altogether comfortable experience and all the more valid for that. The topic itself deserves wide exposure, debate and resolution.  The animation itself is exquisite, smooth, and, perhaps most importantly intertwined very different post-natal experiences effectively leaving us to ponder on each issue.

CONGRATULATIONS TO BOTH OF YOU!!! We will be in touch early next week to send you your winners’ laurels and to arrange the transfer of your prizes.

Many thanks, one final time, to everyone who has been involved or taken an interest in this year’s UNBROKEN Festival.  We greatly appreciate it – and we hope to be back again next year with more wonderful work to share. 

With all best wishes for the rest of the year and beyond,

Emma King-Farlow and Amy Floyd
For Shadow Road Productions & UNBROKEN 2020

Help support the UNBROKEN festival by donating via our Go Fund Me page

Desiderium

Desiderium is a film about loss, love and recovery from the point of view of Charlotte who records a time capsule reliving the ups and downs of her and Jack’s relationship before he suddenly took his own life. It is a subtle take on men’s mental health and the signs we don’t see or we do.

“Desiderium” The loss of grief you feel for something lost.

Director – Maeve O’Haire

Maeve was born and raised in North London – a sporty, outgoing, effervescent child. She discovered the power of her own imagination in primary school, playing countless games creating worlds with her best friend which eventually lead her to the stage at the age of 5.

At ten years old she performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre on the West End. Not really sure of her career path, exploring ideas of being a truck driver, vet or surfer, she knew she always loved to make people laugh and to do so gave various accents to the many characters she created . It wasn’t until she performed a number of comedic roles in high school productions, that she knew acting was for her. In her gap year she attended Mountview Academy and received her merit scholarship to The American Academy of Dramatic Arts where she gained confidence, friends for life and learnt about the craft she loved. 

Her favourite roles include Carolyn in Blue Stockings by Jessica Swale and Prince Hal in William Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1. Maeve was invited to be apart of the Academy’s prestigious Third Year Company where she played many roles, such as Penny in Bike America directed by George Heslin, and Eleanor in Douglas Carter Beanes original production Star Spangled the Musical.

Since graduating Maeve has found herself in many short films and has just finished producing and writing her own short film Desiderium. She has starred in The Code’s brand new music video “Slow Dancing in America”. Her most recent project was This is Me written by Barbara Bernadi, which premiered on August 7th 2019, while her latest music video for Darro Chea of “You’re Not Insane” was released on August 20th.

Maeve is incredibly thankful to her wonderful friends and family for letting her fulfil her dreams in the big apple and supported her throughout.

Director Statement

Desiderium is the first film created by Maeve O’Haire. It took first prize at Art with Impact, for film of the month for September. What started off as something for her acting reel, straight out of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. It became something more and Maeve is proud of the response she has got from family and friends who have seen it privately. The encouragement to put it forward for festivals comes from them, to which she is incredibly thankful for supporting her and believing in Desiderium.

What inspired you to choose the particular subject and/or approach that you did?

The film was thought up about two years ago when I was listening to a song I love. The song didn’t have a music video so my mind started to wonder what the music video would be like. – Of course, I wasn’t going to make a music video for the singer, but I decided to use the song to help me write a monologue and piece together a story. With the wonderful help of my cameraman and editor Stanley Simmons, and actor Lewis Merrylees, I was able to get the story that I so desperately wanted to tell out into the world.

Being someone who struggles with mental health issues such as anxiety, I feel it is always important to bring stories to life and not shy away from the hard truths and stigma around mental health. I found it to be incredibly difficult hearing/reading stories from women who have lost their husband, boyfriend, brother, son because of a mental illness. 1 in 8 men have a mental illness in the UK and rarely any of them feel the need to seek help from loved ones. In this case, my film shows the perspective from Charlotte, Jack’s girlfriend who feels lost, broken and confused as  to Jack’s silence. To me, I wanted to show the importance of showing how “fine” someone can look and act, but deep down are dealing with something much darker and can’t seem to find a way to share their feelings with those who feel they know everything about you. 

What attracted you to the UNBROKEN festival?

Personally, I think there needs to be more film festivals revolving around the topic of mental health. I was thrilled to have found this festival as it allows people to find a way to speak through film and get messages across, showing that even with some flaws, they make you who you are. I fight my battles everyday and I know thousands of people do too, so to put something out there, for those people suffering in silence, I pray it gives them the courage to speak out and talk to your loved ones.

Big Boys Don't Cry

Big Boys Don’t Cry is a spoken word piece written and directed by Joe Byrne. Its aim is to tackle some of the ideas of what it means to be a man in society today, by going straight in and dismantling the commonly used phrase “Big Boys Don’t Cry”. 

Its main objective is to smash the false idea and belief that men and boys should not show emotion, or by in doing so you are somehow weak or inadequate. It touches on subjects such as suicide, loneliness, isolation and the social conditioning that`s shaping the generations of males now growing up amongst us. 

It is a call to action for men to open up and not to be afraid to express themselves freely.

It is estimated that in 2015 in the UK and Ireland alone there were 6,639 suicides and of those 4,997 were males.

Director Biography – Joe Byrne

Joe Byrne is an international multi award winning, poet, writer, actor and filmmaker from Dublin. Unlike many poets on the scene, Joe’s formal acting training sets his work apart. 

In the modern world of performance poetry, being able to write and articulate at a high level is essential. Joe is able to take this to the next level by starring in and directing his own videos, which have helped him launch his work to a much wider audience. Joe’s poetry is dominated by prominent social issues such as mental health, homelessness and modern relationships.

Who are the people behind the film?

I myself wrote, directed and narrated the film. 

The person behind the camera was Conor Flemming who is an award winning Director of Photography.

Aidan Quigley was in charge of editing.

And Glen Power who is a member of the band the Script produced the score.

What inspired you to choose the particular subject and/or approach that you did?
What attracted you to the UNBROKEN festival?

What attracted me to the Unbroken Festival was the fact it advocates for and provides a platform for those who wish to have their voices heard in particular around the subject of mental health. I find any organisation, person or principal that holds space for and allows people to share their messages in an open and authentic manner incredibly inspirational.  

Jitters

In childhood, a girl manifests her anxiety into the form of an unwanted imaginary friend. Will she be able to rid herself of this oppressive presence as an adult?

Director – Sara Jordan

After graduating with a degree in Creative Arts from Nottingham University, Sara had a successful career as an actress before taking a career break to have a family and work in the corporate world.

She has now returned to her love of the Arts and is concentrating on writing and directing, as well as acting. Her films “Pic N Mix”, “Planning The Funeral”,” The Tea Break”, “Stuck” and “Lady What Does” have won several awards at festivals, including Best Short at the Welsh International Film Festival.
Her films and theatre pieces are usually dark observational comedies based on the complexity of relationship.
She loves collaborating on projects and relishes the creative process.

Directing Jitters

Writing “Jitters” and bringing it to life through directing it was a fantastic experience. I know a lot of people struggle with anxiety, so I wanted it to be both resonating and helpful to those who are feeling it, and for those who haven’t experienced it, enlightening as to what it’s like.
It was a big shoot to get filmed in two days and a night as it had multiple setups, but all the crew worked really hard to pull it together. Coming from an acting background, I’m pretty decisive on knowing when I’ve got the performance I want, which helps.
There were a few firsts for me on this project, using a drone, using SFX and filming guerrilla style on a train, all of which were fun. I love trying out new things as it stretches my skills and adds to my toolkit.

Producer – Paul Howard

Having been a therapist, specialising in anxiety, for over 20 years, this film was
very important to me. It represents many of the ways anxiety effects lives.

We used the image of a clown, not to highlight a phobia of clowns, but to symbolise any form of anxiety, from Agoraphobia to Zoophobia.
We want to bring hope to everyone with anxiety. We want them to realise you don’t have to live with anxiety. You can learn to break free and return to a “normal” life, and be free of the feelings of fear.

Directors of Photography – Frank Hammond 

Jitters was an absolute blast to film. This film allowed for our camerawork to express the emotions portrayed within the film, and it was really good fun to experiment on set and get some beautiful looking shots.

I need to give a special thanks to my Gaffer, Chris Wilson for
helping to shape the light in ways to create some super
interesting moods. A lot of what we did was top lighting to get that “good looking bad look”. I also can’t forget to thank the rest of the crew. Films like this aren’t possible without an amazing team behind you!

Raki Woken

Creating the look for Jitters was very much an act of balance.
We did not want to present the world as is. We wanted to recreate the world as seen by someone with a specific
recurring manifestation. On the one hand, her hallucination is very far from reality and feels alien to the audience. 

But, on the other hand, the manifestation is very real to her, so we still needed to keep it believable.
To achieve this, we used many shots in quick succession, which feel real because they change before you get the chance to reflect on how realistic or unrealistic they might be.

Principle Cast

Rachel Wright

Rachel Wright played the role of the woman in Jitters and has appeared in two other We Make Films shorts ‘Goodbye Danny’ and ‘Birthday’ .
Her training includes 4 years at Stage Coach and doing both Drama for GCSE and A Level. She is also with an acting agency where she appeared in an EE commercial and she intends to do a course in ‘Screen acting’ at MetFilm School in London.

Freddie Maw

Freddie Maw is an actor currently studying Theatre at the BRIT school. He is a member of the National Youth Theatre and has experience performing theatrically and musically.
Freddie is also involved in music, circus arts and dance.

 

Composer – Barnabas Sharp

Barnabas Sharp is a graduate musician with a Masters Degree in Composition from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Over the course of five years, Sharp has composed works for a number of ensembles that have received premieres at university, including being appointed as a Student Composerin-Residence and stepped forward to score student short films in collaboration with the media department, receiving an SU award for their voluntary efforts.
A trained pianist and baritone singer, Sharp’s musical portfolio features concert pieces and film scores in multiple varieties of style, tone and colour, ranging from the traditional neo-romantic to the dissonantly experimental.

What attracted you to the UNBROKEN festival?

As Jitters is wholly about anxiety, I searched for festivals that focused on mental health issues and Unbroken fitted the bill perfectly. Well done and keep up the good work.

I have been a hypnotherapist for over 20 years specialising in anxiety so I am very passionate about finding new ways to help and create more understanding about this debilitating mental health issue.

 

What else would you like people to know about you or your film?

Paul Howard – Jitters was made by people that believe in helping people with anxiety and everyone got on board because they wanted to do their bit to help. It was not a commercial project for them virtually all of them gave their time for free.

Borderline

A dance film that narrates the daily thoughts, obstacles, and emotions of Borderline Personality Disorder. It shines the light on what the individual feels is their role in society and how society receives them. To bring awareness of the remaining challenges that will always be there when one is affected with a mental illness.

Made in Memory of Alexandra Frey

Director – Jacqueline DeNovellis 

 

Who are the people behind the film?

I created the concept and choreography for the film, as well as directed it. Although, my amazing videographer Rose Lu helped bring it to the next level. She has a brilliant eye when it comes to the different angles and helping capture the movement the way I wanted it to look. All of my dancers, especially Cristina Alejandra Pinero and Tamara Leigh, collaborated with me when it came to the movement and ideas throughout the process.

What inspired you to choose the particular subject and/or approach that you did?

I had a very close friend of mine pass away who had Borderline Personality Disorder and I truly wanted to showcase her struggles and experiences through this film. I wanted to shed light mainly on what is going through their mind and how it may be perceived by others-that maybe misconstrue or lead to misjudging people with these disorders.

 

What attracted you to the UNBROKEN festival?

I have always had an interest with the human psyche; what causes people to do or think certain ways. So when my friend past away, it fueled me even more to do my research among mental health disorders, about treatment types, and what I think should be known moving forward.

What else would you like people to know about you or your film?

I am a dancer and this is my first time using film as a medium for my work. The intention is to always plant another idea or feeling in the audience; try to go a step further than something we anticipate to see with a film based on a mental disorder.

Well-Meaning People

A short film with an uneaten sandwich, lots of sass and of course some God stuff.

Director Biography – Charlie Brades-Price

After 12 years working in the British television industry as a writer and documentary producer this is Charlie’s drama directing debut.

Director Statement

Well-Meaning People asks the question, how good are the good people in the church? It examines who’s responsibility it is to look after and accept those who are most vulnerable. Religious institutions are often the last line of defence in communities, they are as important as hospitals and doctors surgeries in the treatment and recovery from mental health conditions. I believe the best humour comes from difficult situations and breaking the rules of social convention.

I grew up in a small town with a mother who suffers with schizoaffective disorder (a combination of bipolar, manic depression and schizophrenia). As you can imagine this was and still is quite the ride! Everyone knows everyone in our town and the church has always been a place she has gone to come rain or shine. This film is for my mum. A woman who constantly amazes and inspires me.

Who are the people behind the film?

Well-Meaning People is produced by Guildhall Pictures an independent film making collective in South London. Run by Brian Franklin and Sinead Beverland, for over a decade they have been making short and features films. Director and writer of Well-Meaning People, Charlie Brades-Price (me) has been working with them since she moved to London in her early twenties, from starting as a runner at the very beginning of Guildhall pictures, this is her directing debut. WMP editor Maj Jukic is also a long-time collaborator at Guildhall Pictures and directs his own films, the most recent Dr Mr Burton which is doing the festivals rounds. The team were lucky enough to work with the super talented DOP Karl Poyzer on this project, with many shorts and comedies under his belt, he injected classy visuals and smart solutions to working on a tight budget.

The film stars Al Roberts as the reverend who star in BAFTA award-winning Channel 4 comedy Stath Lets Flats alongside Jenny Whiffen as Mae and Maria Rillstone at Katie.

What inspired you to choose the particular subject and/or approach that you did?

Growing up my mum had a severe mental health condition, Schizoaffective Disorder. Over the years she has been sectioned many times and a place that she is always drawn to is the church. Throughout my life, I have witnessed both the kindness and confusion from congregation members around her condition. But it has always been there, a safe haven, a last line of defence when medical professionals weren’t able to give us the support we needed. Part of a Vicars job is to look after their community, and some members are more challenging than others. Through this film, I wanted to share a part of this secret world we have inhabited and make something with love, that feels hopeful and real whilst tackling this very important subject.

What attracted you to the UNBROKEN festival?

As an adult who suffers from PTSD and being a child carer to a mum who has mental health issues, this had to be the subject for my first film. It’s so close to my heart and last year when my producers came to Unbroken festival they raved it. It was always the goal to complete the film and enter here. It is a real honour to be an official selection in in this festival.

What else would you like people to know about you or your film?

This is a film about mental health, but its focus isn’t on the person who is unwell, but how people around her react to it. So often when we talk about mental health its feels like an individual thing that one person is going through, but its never about just one person. Community is so key to care, well-being and recovery. I wanted to shed a light on community spaces like a church and the humanity it takes to run them.

Anything Helps

An altered suicide note travels throughout the city and affects struggling people in a positive way.

Director Biography – Dakota Blose

Dakota Blose is a 2D animator from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Edinburgh University in 2017 and received her master’s degree from Ball State University in 2020. 

What inspired you to choose the particular subject and/or approach that you did?

For years, I suffered from depression and anxiety, as well as suicidal ideation. When I moved to Indiana for grad school, my mental health began to improve. However, in February 2018, I lost my younger brother to suicide. This not only brought back my own mental illness, but it gave me another perspective on the subject of suicide. I decided to create a film that showed a more positive spin on overcoming mental illness, one that sent the message that things will get better, even if everything seems horrible in the moment.

What attracted you to the UNBROKEN festival?

Most of the films I have seen depicting mental illness have only shown the suffering of its victims, and I wanted to contribute to the film industry by creating a short film that would (hopefully) send a more positive message.

What else would you like people to know about you or your film?

In the graveyard scene, there are only two headstones with names – the one directly relative to the story, and one dedicated to my brother, Dawson.

My Name is Alba - Runner Up & Audience Choice

Alba believes she’s the only person that can take care of their Mother, who suffers from Alzheimer. She refuse to be helped, ignoring that this endangers not only her integrity, but also her Mother well-being.

Writer & Director – Jonathan Cortes

Jonathan Cortes is a Colombian-Canadian director based in Montreal. Born in Medellin –Colombia, he studied Advertising.

Later on, he continued different studies in Audiovisual; including a Master in Cinematographic Direction in Barcelona-Spain. Throughout his career, he has worked in different positions, both in production and in post-production, in various Montreal companies. As well, as working as an editor for various corporate, television and fiction projects. He has also directed several video clips of emerging artists in Montreal – Canada.

 

Producer – Mas de Luna

Mar de Luna is a filmmaker based in Barcelona. She has studied film in Peru, United States and Spain, and has directed and produced many short films in these countries.

What inspired you to choose the particular subject and/or approach that you did?

This story is inspired by real life events. It was the story of my grandmother who suffered from
Alzheimer, and of her daughter who took care of her until her death.

What attracted you to the UNBROKEN festival?

Unbroken is a great festival that encourage reflection and helps to create awareness about mental health. I found that it was a great place to show my short film because I’ve always been interested by the relationship between an Alzheimer’s patient and his caregiver. The caregivers are people who do the beautiful job of taking care their loved ones at a daily basis without expecting anything in return even if they are exposed to different physical and/or psychological diseases during the care and even after the death of the patient.

Stream of Consciousness

Ashley has brought herself to a bridge overlooking a flowing stream. Gazing upon the water beneath, she reflects on her friends, family and events both large and small that have led her to this moment.

Director Biography – Michael Whitfield

Michael Whitfield is a filmmaker based in the North West of England. He has spent four years studying Film Production at the University of Central Lancashire and is set to graduate in late 2020. During this time he found a particular passion and aptitude for screenwriting, drawing on his time working as a health care assistant at a home for dementia patients; a job that allowed him to meet people from various walks of life and gain a greater understanding of how they find joy in an often unpleasant world. Raised on a collection of worn VHS tapes of films from Hollywood’s Golden Age, he believes the purpose of film is to edify, as well as entertain.

Director Statement

Like a passing thought, Stream of Consciousness seemingly appeared from nowhere, and I had expected it to vanish just as quickly. It began as an experiment in screenwriting. Could a coherent script come from a stream of consciousness? Soon I had a screenplay detailing the myriad thoughts and memories of Ashley. A young woman looking over a flowing lake having made a fateful, and final, decision. Having drawn upon my own experiences with mental health and those of my loved ones, I felt unable to keep her story to myself.

Stream of Consciousness is Ashley. Ashley could be anyone. The experiences she shares are random, but relatable. Often mundane. Almost irrelevant. Her final fate may seem surprising except in hindsight. If Stream of Consciousness is to have a message, I hope it is this.

Mental health is invisible and those struggling are not always easy to spot in a world that discourages the sharing of negativity. I hope Stream of Consciousness serves as a reminder that the person we appear to be is not necessarily who we are. That a smile can sometimes be a mask. Above all, I hope it encourages its audience to become more vigilant towards those who may need them.

Who are the people behind the film?

Speech Bubble Productions is an informal group brought together through a shared love of film and filmmaking. While SBP was formed by myself specifically for the production of Stream of Consciousness, each of us have worked together on a variety of projects while studying film production at the University of Central Lancashire.

What inspired you to choose the particular subject and/or approach that you did?

Having dealt with severe depression in my own life and seen it affect the lives of friends and family, I endeavored to use film as a means to highlight mental health. Depression is invisible and those living with it often do so in silence. Sometimes because of the stigma that can come with it, sometimes for other reasons. Unfortunately, many don’t realise a loved one could use their support until it is too late. I wanted to make a film to show how depression is hidden from view. A film about a person who seems cheerful and carefree but in truth is struggling and feels she has to keep that to herself. It is my hope that we have produced a film that will shock it’s audience into reaching out to those who might need it while also handling it’s subject matter with the sensitivity those living with depression deserve.

What attracted you to the UNBROKEN festival?

While we’ve entered our film into several festivals (large and small), UNBROKEN was the one for which we were most excited. My producer (Catherine Morris) discovered the festival while Stream of Consciousness was still in pre-production and we quickly made the decision to enter once it was complete. We admire UNBROKEN for their dedication to ending the stigma against mental health and for their clear desire for films which would tackle the topic in a unique manner.

What else would you like people to know about you or your film?

Our Producer, Catherine Morris, is currently working on another film that is currently in post-production. The film is titled Okay? and depicts mental health in an intimate and sensitive way.

Perinatal Positivity - Winner

Perinatal Positivity is an animated film to emotionally prepare families-to-be, promoting mental wellness and the early identification of mental health issues around pregnancy and early parenthood.

The film draws closely on the personal stories of people who have experienced mental health issues before and after childbirth as well as being guided by health professionals.

Director Biography – Emma Lazenby

Emma Lazenby is the BAFTA award-winning Director of the Bristol based ForMed Films CIC. Working in the animation industry for 20 years (Channel 4, BBC, Aardman and Disney).

Emma made ‘Mother of Many’ in 2009, an animated film celebrating midwifery and childbirth. When this won a BAFTA Emma realised that animated film was the perfect medium to educate people about medical issues, and launched ForMed Films in 2015.

ForMed Films is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company. We make animated films in collaboration with patients, charities and health professionals to help people talk about and understand medical and health issues.

Our films are viewed and used by individuals, support groups, doctors and charities. They can be seen on social media, in hospitals, at workshops and events. They also play an important role in helping health professionals understand patient experiences and needs, including the emotional aspects of interacting with health services.

Who are the people behind the film?

ForMed Films tells stories through workshops, animated film, audio and illustrations to help people make informed choices about their own health or understand medical procedures. We work in collaboration with patients and professionals to bring people’s experiences, emotions and advice to the fore. In this way audiences relate to, understand and retain health information more easily. We are a not-for-profit Community Interest Company.

The Perinatal Positivity project began when ForMed Films’ director Emma Lazenby had a chance meeting with Dr Rachel Liebling: a Consultant in Fetal Medicine and Obstetrics at St Michaels Hospital, Bristol. Rachel and Emma realised the need for a film to educate parents-to-be about maternal mental health issues to help them spot signs of ill-health early on and find support as soon as possible.

Together they gathered a team of health professionals and collaborators:

  • Executive Producer – Barbara Jayson, Health Visitor & Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Executive Producer – Louise Page, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist
  • Executive Producer – Louise Nunn, Perinatal Mental Health Specialist Midwife
  • Project Advisor – Ruth Jackson, Founder & CEO Bluebell Care Trust
  • Project Advisor – Sasha Barber, Mental Health & Bereavement Lead
What inspired you to choose the particular subject and/or approach that you did?

We wanted all new families to:

  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of perinatal mental ill-health
  • Know that they are not alone (and that problems can be experienced by men as well as women)
  • Know what steps they can take for self-care
  • Know where they can get support if they need it
  • Have ideas of how to ask for that support.

The project is also an opportunity for patient-voices to be heard (by other patients and by health professionals) and for people to share their personal experiences of perinatal mental health issues.

What attracted you to the UNBROKEN festival?

We were drawn to UNBROKEN because it is a film festival about mental health. Regardless of prizes, we push the film to places where people who may need it can find out about it. As a company, ForMed Films are very interested in mental health and in promoting mental wellness/tools to help peoples wellbeing. We have made other films about mental health, My Mum’s Got A Dodgy Brain and our most recent film (which is released on the 17th September this year) For Baby’s Sake.

What else would you like people to know about you or your film?

The film is has resources surrounding it, all of these are free resources to embed in websites and to show share and talk about.  These are all at www.perinatalpositivity.org There is a poster, postcard, links to self care, links to how and where to find support and ideas for health carers on how to use the film.  There are currently 3 translations of the film with subtitles (Urdu, Arabic, Italian), very soon to be 12 more, all will be available on the website when they are complete.

Trapped

Sophia is a young woman who is terrified of the outside world. She lives with her mom, Ann. For a weekend Ann receives an emergency call and is obligated to leave her alone. Sophia tries to stay calm but fear will start to consume her when she hears something inside the house. She faces a battle with her own mind, not knowing what is real anymore.

Director Biography – Mahaut De Coustin

Born in 1996 in Paris, she started her studies in L‘ESRA. After those 3 years, she decided to go explore and learn about the American approach of cinema. She decided to go to VFS and specialize in Directing and Producing just like she did in France. After working multiple times as a script supervisor, she finally decided to direct her first short film TRAPPED.

Who are the people behind the film?

Directed by Mahaut De Coustin 
Written by R. Aiden Marsden & Casey Thordarson
Produced by Claudia Hernandez Barragan
DoP Patricia Cabrera
Production Design by Rieley Hutchinson
1st Assistant Director Ezgi Gundogdu and Marianne Morin
Edited by Cael O’Connor  
Composer Sebastian Sagastume

What inspired you to choose the particular subject and/or approach that you did?

This story hits close to home. When I was a teenager I suffered from severe anxiety . When it declared itself I couldn’t leave my house. Just the idea of stepping outside made me sick to my stomach. I didn’t leave my apartment for a full week. I’m not saying that this is my story, I just think that I’m not the only one who was in that situation at one point in their life.
– Mahaut De Coustin

What attracted you to the UNBROKEN festival?

We wanted to create this film and bring awareness of how something so small can mean the world to someone. I was looking for mental health festivals and UNBROKEN had the same mentality that we do, we think that film is a very powerful medium and it is the best form of education, creating awareness to this situations where people can relate, empathize and learn about the importance of mental health.
-Claudia Hernandez

What else would you like people to know about you or your film?

We are all women! (except for the editor). It was our final project in our year studying at Vancouver Film School and every head of department, apart from being women, were also from different nationalities, Mexico, France, Venezuela, Canada and UK.

Thank you, Now Goodbye

In her ongoing struggle with anxiety, a woman tries a different approach and makes a discovery.

Who are the people behind the film?

Pearl Tan directed, starred in, and co-wrote while Priya Roy produced and co-wrote Thank You, Now Goodbye.

What inspired you to choose the particular subject and/or approach that you did?

The key message of Thank You, Now Goodbye is one of acceptance. From her own experiences of anxiety, Pearl Tan recognised that fighting the onset of anxious feelings only backfired. Counterintuitively, it was through an acceptance of and appreciation for these anxious feelings that Pearl took power back. This message of acceptance of oneself as an anxious person we hope will help others in their journey with anxiety.

What attracted you to the UNBROKEN festival?

We were drawn to UNBROKEN’s mission to reduce stigma around mental health issues. While the subject matter is deeply personal, we hope that this first-person account of the contradictory feelings of anxiety will help others to understand they are not alone, it is ok to feel conflicted and confused, and they can accept anxiety as part of their lives while maintaining agency.

What else would you like people to know about you or your film?

This film was made during a particularly transformative point of the filmmakers’ lives, and while we would never try to speak for everyone, we do hope this film provides solace and compassion for those who see themselves in it.

I AM BORDERLINE

This short film presents “a day in the life” of a person with Borderline Personality Disorder. The narrative shape demonstrates the fluctuating moods that a Borderline will experience.

This art-doc film has been produced to raise awareness of this mental health disorder and let those who are suffering know that they are not alone.

Who are the people behind the film?

The narrative reveals ‘a day in the life’ of a person struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder, walking us through the challenging emotional changes that they live through. Although the protagonist of this art-doc would like to remain anonymous, they have allowed me to share their story. After spending a lot of time with the protagonist, I wrote and recorded the voice-over narration in a way that mimicked many of the conversations we had together; this, of course, was agreed on with the protagonist. The choice to include a ballet dancer was not only an aesthetic film-maker’s choice, but one that reflects and compliments the recovery process of the protagonist; they found that exercise and therapy best helped them understand and accept themselves. That, really, is what the art-doc is about: self-acceptance and growth, despite disabilities.

I wrote, produced, directed and edited the film myself. I had the honour of working with actors, Ruby Winter and Joe McDonald, and filming the incredible Oliva Bott, who choregraphed her own routine seen throughout.

What inspired you to choose the particular subject and/or approach that you did?

Raising awareness for and stopping the stigma around mental health has become a very important part of my life. On learning about Borderline Personality Disorder, I discovered that many people’s reactions are polarised: some think people with BPD are ‘insane’, while others invalidate the disorder completely. From this, I decided that it was a mental health illness that I wanted to educate people about. In August 2019, I was fortunate enough to receive a London Marathon place for MIND, a mental health charity. I had the aim to reach £2,000 for this amazing charity and, alongside the push from my university assignments, I decided to make this short film to visually demonstrate BPD.

What attracted you to the UNBROKEN festival?

As I explained before, raising awareness for mental health is incredibly important to me, so when I discovered UNBROKEN, I knew it was the perfect competition for I AM BORDERLINE. The festival seemed so incredibly inclusive and, as my first film festival entry, I felt encouraged and welcomed from the moment I hit ‘submit’.

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