Lisbon, PT – March 3, 2022 – The Mental Health Rights Film Festival (MHRFF) announced the Jury and Audience Awards in short filmmaking during the Award Ceremony that took place on February 26th at the Fórum Lisboa in Lisbon.
The works in competition were short films up to a maximum length of 30 minutes, with no restriction of genre or storytelling style, whose main subject was mental health, to raise awareness of the rights of people with mental disorders and to fight the stigma associated with such diseases. 173 submissions were received, from 39 different countries, and the final programme included 21 films, produced in 16 different countries. They were showcased to the attending public on February 25th and 26th in four different screenings, in a combined array of Fiction and Documentary.
The disclosure of the awards came from Professor José Miguel Caldas de Almeida, president of the Lisbon Institute of Global Mental Health who chaired the Ceremony, together with Professor Graça Cardoso, a member of the MHRFF Jury, acting as spokesperson for the whole jury, consisting of Joana Pontes, Pedro Granger, Graça Cardoso, and António Roma Torres. On stage, Professor Pedro Simas, representative of the Lisbon City Council, welcomed the filmmakers being awarded during the ceremony in the name of the city of Lisbon.
Before announcing the awards, Professor Caldas de Almeida highlighted the importance of these prizes, since while bestowing them we celebrate the filmic excellence of the works being showcased at the festival, as well as their deep understanding of the subject of Mental Health, their commitment to Human
Right issues and their great value in fighting the stigma often associated with mental health diseases.
The prize-giving ceremony then continued with the announcement of the three Honorable Mentions that were conferred by the Jury.
The mentions were attributed to: the documentary Diaplous, Tales Of Hope (Greece, 2018) by Ifigeneia Kotsoni, for highlighting the importance of social reintegration and the dignity of people with experience of mental illness; to April Kelley’s fiction film Just In Case, (UK, 2021) for the very touching way of presenting the cause of mental illness in the patient and the family; to the documentary Milton Freire, A Shout Beyond History (Brazil, 2020) by Victor Abreu, Brazil, for being able, from a true example, to describe the psychiatric reform movement in Brazil and the need to involve in it, also, the people with experience of mental illness.
Professor Cardoso, after announcing the mentions and explaining the reasons for each special praise, thus epitomized the intentions of the Jury in attributing these honorable mentions:
These three films address, in an original way, mental illness and the stigma that is often associated with it, reflecting on the experience of inclusion, which can allow a dignified and full life. In this way, these films leave us an open door to hope for the future.
Throughout the four screenings of February 25th and 26th, the audiences were able to vote for the Audience Award by rating each film in the different screening on a scale of 1 to 5 according to their preferences.
From the counting of votes, the Audience Award for Best Film went to Just in Case by April Kelley.
And then the Award Ceremony reached its climax when Graça Cardoso disclosed the title of the film which was conferred the Jury Award, carrying a cash prize of 1200 euro.
The prize went to: Brother (Netherlands, 2021) directed by Lisanne Sweere; this is what the jury had to say to illustrate the reason for the Award:
The film addresses in an original and complex sensitive way the impact of mental illness on the life of a family and allows us to reflect and understand how suffering, guilt, and fear, but also love, can mark the day to day of those who live an experience such as this. The mastery of narrative and a well-crafted visual style make this film a work of great interest on the subject of mental health and human rights.
As a conclusion to the event, Professor Caldas de Almeida thanked all the filmmakers that participated in the competition and those of them who were able to join the festival in Lisbon in person; he also expressed his gratitude to the audience that attended the event with serious engagement with the issues being presented thought the films and being discussed during the Q&As. He also voiced/acknowledged the festival’s deep indebtedness to the Gulbenkian and Bissaya Barreto Foundations that through the Active Citizens Program and the EEA Grants, funded the MH Rights Project, of which the festival is one of the initiatives.
Finally, the floor was given to Pedro Simas, who on behalf of the City Council congratulated the filmmakers awarded, and emphasized the tremendous significance of carrying out and participating in events such as MHRFF, focused on the rights of people and especially the rights of people that are suffering from a mental disease in adverse times, such as the current ones in which we are facing the contingent difficulty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The speech ended by professor Simas stating that, since these topics are even more relevant nowadays, events and projects such as the MH Rights should be encouraged, drawing the necessary attention to such subjects, thus wishing a new edition of the MHRFF.
ABOUT THE MHRFF
The Mental Health Rights Film Festival, fostered by the Lisbon Institute of Global Mental Health, is a short ﬁlm festival and international competition that focuses on showcasing cinematographic works that deal with mental health issues in order to raise awareness of the rights of people with mental disorders and to fight the stigma associated with mental disorders, thus contributing to clear the path for a society based on mutual understanding and inclusion.
This initiative follows on from the first Mind Rights Film Festival, held in 2014, with great success, at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. It will take place in this same city, on February 25-26, 2022, within the scope of the MH Rights Project, which is supported by the Active Citizens Program, coordinated by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and funded by the EEA Grants, and counts on the collaboration of the Municipality of Lisbon.
Other news and photos from the event as well as the Award Ceremony can be found on the festival’s social media pages at www.facebook.com/MHRFilmFestival or www.twitter.com/MHRFilmFestival (also by entering #MHRFF2022)