SMHAF Lived Experience Series 1

  • Short
  • 6 Episodes

Personal experiences with mental health problems inspired each of these shorts, ranging from animation and experimental film to documentary and drama.

Hailing from the UK, North America and Eastern Europe, these films explore how individuals both are affected by and recover from problems including negative body image, borderline personality disorder, and depression, and how the people around them contribute to or help to prevent mental health problems from emerging.

Join us for a Zoom Q&A with the filmmakers at 2pm on Saturday 15 May: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lived-experience-zoom-discussion-tickets-150496377717

Screening 10-16 May for UK audiences.

Content notes: discussion of alcohol addiction, body image, domestic violence, medication, suicide, strong language, depiction of brief nudity, panic attack. These are also listed individually by film.

PAY WHAT YOU CAN TICKETS

Tickets will be available on a Pay What You Can basis, using our sliding scale pricing. Tickets for all feature films and shorts programmes will be available for FREE, £2, £4 and £6.

To access the various prices, please click Rent and then tick the box “I have a promo code”. Enter the promo code for your ticket price – SMHAF0, SMHAF2 or SMHAF4 – and click apply. £6 is the default price, with no code required.

Tickets must be paid for using a credit or debit card. If you do not have access to a card to make a payment, you are welcome to select a free ticket.

SMHAF PASS

To access every film in the programme, you can also buy a SMHAF Pass. These are priced at £15 or £10 for concessions. The discount code to enter a concession pass is SMHAF10.

SCREENING PROGRAMME

My Own Personal Lebanon, Theo Panagopoulos, United Kingdom, 16m, Scottish Premiere

A short documentary about a young Greek filmmaker attempting to connect with his Lebanese heritage by discovering stories of the war. Intergenerational trauma and the tension between personal and national identity are sensitively explored through conversations uncovering the silences of the past.

Borderline Coffee, Jeff Ayars, USA, 10m, European Premiere

A charming drama in which a young woman with crippling anxiety attempts to start her day with a trip to a coffee shop. Based on writer and star Susanna Stahlmann’s own experiences, Borderline Coffee captures the relentlessness of her inner voices and the impact that her mental health has on her everyday life.

Content Notes: panic attack, brief nudity

Benny’s Best Birthday, Benjamin Schuetze, Canada, 18m, European Premiere

A deeply personal drama based on director Benjamin Schuetze’s own experiences with mental illness and recovery. A filmmaker returns to his childhood home to stay with his well-meaning but ill-equipped family during the early days of his recovery. Schuetze acts in the leading role, alongside his brother, who not only co-wrote the script but also supported him throughout his illness.

Content notes: use of medication, discussion of suicide

Fatboy, Dan Castro, Scotland, 4m, World Premiere

After years of self-abuse, a young man realises that maybe his issues with his body aren’t actually about his body at all. This short, biographical film is about male body image, the pressure we put ourselves under, and being kind to ourselves.

Content Notes: body image, strong language

Common Language, Voila Chajkouskaya, Estonia, 13m, UK Premiere

A filmmaker returns to the Belarusian town of Vitebsk from her studies in Estonia to talk to her parents about topics that were previously considered taboo. A raw and engaging documentary about the complexities of talking issues that impact on our mental health with the people we love and finding a common language.

Content Notes: alcohol addiction, domestic violence

Wave Form, Daniel Tysdal, Canada, 8m, UK Premiere

This unique and visually sublime autobiographical documentary explores the power of watching and sharing films as a means of confronting mental illness. Converted into luma waveforms, original images from cinematic history are rendered unrecognisable, their representational nature exchanged for a ghostly, mesmerizing shimmer.

Content Notes: discussion of suicidal thoughts

Episodes

16m
My Own Personal Lebanon

My Own Personal Lebanon, Theo Panagopoulos, UK, Scottish Premiere

A short documentary about a young Greek filmmaker attempting to connect with his Lebanese heritage by discovering stories of the war. Intergenerational trauma and the tension between personal and national identity are sensitively explored through conversations uncovering the silences of the past.

10m
Borderline Coffee

Content Notes: panic attack, brief nudity

Jeff Ayars, USA, European Premiere

A charming drama in which a young woman with crippling anxiety attempts to start her day with a trip to a coffee shop. Based on writer and star Susanna Stahlmann’s own experiences, Borderline Coffee captures the relentlessness of her inner voices and the impact that her mental health has on her everyday life.

18m
Benny's Best Birthday

Content notes: use of medication, discussion of suicide

Benny’s Best Birthday, Benjamin Schuetze, Canada, European Premiere

A deeply personal drama based on director Benjamin Schuetze’s own experiences with mental illness and recovery. A filmmaker returns to his childhood home to stay with his well-meaning but ill-equipped family during the early days of his recovery. Schuetze acts in the leading role, alongside his brother, who not only co-wrote the script but also supported him throughout his illness.

4m
Fatboy

Content Notes: body image, strong language

Dan Castro, Scotland, World Premiere

After years of self-abuse, a young man realises that maybe his issues with his body aren’t actually about his body at all. This short, biographical film is about male body image, the pressure we put ourselves under, and being kind to ourselves.

13m
Common Language

Content Notes: alcohol addiction, domestic violence

Voila Chajkouskaya, Estonia, UK Premiere

A filmmaker returns to the Belarusian town of Vitebsk from her studies in Estonia to talk to her parents about topics that were previously considered taboo. A raw and engaging documentary about the complexities of talking issues that impact on our mental health with the people we love and finding a common language.

8m
Wave Form

Content Notes: discussion of suicidal thoughts

Daniel “Tiz” Tysdal, Canada, UK Premiere

This unique and visually sublime autobiographical documentary explores the power of watching and sharing films as a means of confronting mental illness. Converted into luma waveforms, original images from cinematic history are rendered unrecognisable, their representational nature exchanged for a ghostly, mesmerizing shimmer.