1st Annual Frames of Mind Mental Health Film Festival

1st Annual Frames of Mind Mental Health Film Festival

May 13th – 16th, 2004


Opening Gala
7:30 pm Film Screening


USA, 2003. Director: John Cadigan

This intimate, visual portrait is the first film on schizophrenia to be conceived, photographed and directed by a person with the illness. The filmmaker, John Cadigan, had his first psychotic break during his senior year in college. He soon dropped out of school and was eventually institutionalized after failing to respond to medications and ECT. And there he may have languished, except for the constant encouragement of his family, especially his sister, Katie. It was Katie, a filmmaker herself, who initiated the film’s creation by suggesting its potential benefit as a form of therapy. John, wanting the world “to know what it’s like to live with labels such as “psychotic,” “schizophrenic” and “severely disabled”” began filming in 1997. The documentary charts how over the next ten years he found his way back to a level of health where he could lead a relatively normal life. “A remarkable document that goes beyond A Beautiful Mind to offer a demystifying, firsthand look at mental illness.” (Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle.) People Say I’m Crazy was awarded the Chief Dan George Humanitarian Award at the 2003 Vancouver IFF and the Silver Plaque for Best Documentary and Top 10 Audience Favorite at the Chicago International Film Festival. Color, DigiBeta, 84 mins.

preceded by


United Kingdom, 2001. Director: Jonathan Hodgson

An animated film exploring the experience of a child growing up with a parent with schizophrenia. Colour, 35mm, 8 mins.

To be followed by a post-screening discussion with John Cadigan and Katie Cadigan.

John Cadigan is a visual artist trained at the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie- Mellon University. People Say I’m Crazy is his first film, one which he both shot and directed.

Katie Cadigan is the co-producer of People Say I’m Crazy and the founder of imageReal Pictures, a San Francisco-based documentary production company specializing in social, cultural and historical subjects.

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Director of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.

Co-sponsored by the BC Schizophrenia Society and AstraZeneca


Workshops for High School Students: “Movies, Mental Illness, and Stigma” Special screening of Donnie Darko followed by a panel discussion
8:30 am – 11:30 am or 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm
For Grades 11 and 12, particularly Film Studies, Media Studies, Guidance/Health


USA, 2001. Director: Richard Kelly.
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Noah Wyle, Mary McDonnell
Donnie Darko, the debut feature from writer/director Richard Kelly, is part psychological thriller and part science fiction mystery. The title character (Jake Gyllenhaal), a teenager in his last year of high school, is suffering from all manner of delusions and hallucinations. He sees and does the bidding of a six-foot high rabbit wearing an insect mask. He is visiting a therapist and taking medication, but neither solution is working. Donnie is getting worse, but is it because he’s descending deeper into a web of mental instability or because he’s really seeing and experiencing these things?
Colour, 35mm, 120 mins.

Rated 14A in Ontario (unrated in BC). Contains scenes of profanity and some violence. Panel discussion to explore the relationship between the media’s depiction of people with mental illness as unpredictable, violent and dangerous and youth perceptions of mental illness, as well as the consequences of media-driven stereotypes and stigmatization.

For more information, or to book class attendance, please contact Analee Weinberger at Pacific Cinémathèque. (604-688-8202). PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED.

Workshop participants will include:

Ms. Sarah Hamid-Balma: Public Education & Communications Director, CMHA – BC Division
Dr. Harry Karlinsky: Director, Director of CME and Professional Development, UBC Dept of Psychiatry
Dr. Derryck Smith: Head, Division of Child Psychiatry, UBC Dept of Psychiatry; Head, Dept of Psychiatry, Children’s and Women’s Health Centre of BC Ms. Analee Weinberger: Education Director, Pacific Cinematheque. Supported by the CMHA – BC Division and Vancouver-Burnaby Branch.

7:30 pm Film Screening


USA, 1976. Director: Daniel Petrie
Cast: Sally Field, Joanne Woodward, Brad Davis, Martine Bartlett, Jane Hoffman, William Prince

Almost 30 years have come and gone since the introduction of Sybil to captivated television audiences in 1976, yet it has still to be surpassed as the definitive cinematic treatment on multiple personality disorder. Based on actual events, this awe-inspiring and brutal drama started life as a 1974 bestseller by Flora Rheta Schreiber. Sally Field won an Emmy for her portrayal of the title character, a young substitute teacher who develops multiple personality disorder as a coping mechanism to deal with the unspeakable abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of her mother, Hattie (Martine Bartlett). Now living alone in New York City, Sybil is tormented by flashbacks and visions of her painful childhood. Unable to live a normal life, she meets Dr. Cornelia Wilbur (Joanne Woodward), a kindhearted psychiatrist who becomes committed to helping Sybil heal the incredible wounds that haunt her. With the support and guidance of Dr. Wilbur, Sybil is slowly able to heal her inner self and 11 years later concludes the long, arduous journey of putting the “selves” back together.

Powerful and deeply moving performances by Field and Woodward illuminate a deeply touching and inspiring story of love and determination conquering pain and isolation. Colour, video,197 mins

To be followed by a post-screening discussion with Stewart Stern, whose screenwriting credits include Rebel Without A Cause, Rachel Rachel, The Ugly American and Sybil. He was nominated twice for an Academy Award and won an Emmy for Sybil. Currently, Stern is a screenwriting instructor for Seattle’s TheFilmSchool and also serves as a Creative Advisor at the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Lab.

Moderated by Bruce Saunders, the founder of “Movie Monday”, an innovative free weekly film series in Victoria, BC that since 1993 has been presenting films for patients, consumers of mental health services and the public.

Co-sponsored by “Movie Monday”.


11:00 – 2:00 pm Workshop: “A Case Study of Titicut Follies: Dilemmas of Documentary Construction and Use”


USA, 1967. Director: Frederick Wiseman

In his first documentary, the father of cinema verité Frederick Wiseman leads us into the MCI-Bridgewater mental institution, a prison-hospital for the criminally insane run by the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. Wiseman shows us, without judgement, the incessant abuse of inmates as they are  needlessly stripped bare, insulted, herded about, mocked and taunted. Wiseman’s portrayal of the guards is equally intimate and disturbing; there’s a sense of horror that the daily routine can work with such good humour, efficiency and brutality. As Richard Schickel from Life Magazine stated, “The repulsive reality revealed in Titicut Follies forces us to contemplate our capacity for callousness.” After initial media outcry, the state of Massachusetts took Wiseman to court, seeking to prevent the exhibition of the film soon after its release in 1967. b&w, 16 mm, 84 mins.

Workshop participants will include:

Gail M. Dickson, Q.C., lawyer, one of the two founding partners of Dickson Murray, a Vancouver litigation firm.

Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Director of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.

Maureen Levitt, broadcaster, with Vision TV since 1994, she represents the Western
and Northern regions from the regional office in Victoria.

Erik Paulsson, filmmaker, co-founder of Red Storm Productions, an award winning independent production company creating socially relevant, engaging and thought provoking documentaries.
Judy Robertson (moderator), Exhibitions Coordinator, Cineworks Independent Filmmakers Society.

Co-sponsored by Cineworks Independent Filmmakers Society

2:30 – 5:30 pm Workshop: “From Page to Screen” with screenwriter Stewart Stern and writer/director Scott Smith.

Two screenwriters, an established veteran and an emerging talent, discuss the process involved in researching the psychological back stories of their characters and dramatizing them through the “present tense behaviour” of the movie. Both Stern’s Sybil and Smith’s Falling Angels centre on the theme of survival in a dysfunctional family. Using clips from each of the panelist’s films, this workshop will bring to light how key moments of psychological and dramatic discovery were translated into a winning screenplay.

Stewart Stern (see bio above)

Scott Smith is a Vancouver-based filmmaker. His first feature film, 2000’s Rollercoaster, was followed in 2003 with Falling Angels, an adaptation of Barbara Gowdy’s novel, co-written with Esta Spalding. It was recently voted one of the Top 10 Canadian Films of 2003 by the Toronto Int’l Film Festival Group.
Bruce Saunders (Moderator), Founder, “Movie Monday”.

This workshop co-sponsored by “Movie Monday” and Praxis Centre for Screenwriters

7:30 pm Film Screening


Canada, 2003. Director: Allan King

Modern society exercises unprecedented ingenuity to extend life and postpone death. In times gone by, the direct experience of watching family or friends die was common; it is much less so today. In its unfamiliarity, death may therefore be more frightening. Hoping to alleviate this fear is what inspired Dying at Grace. The film follows five individuals receiving palliative care at the Salvation Army Toronto Grace Health Centre. Filming took place over fourteen weeks, beginning only after an extensive period in which King became familiar with the Palliative Care Program by spending time speaking with staff, patients, families and volunteers. Told entirely without narration or interviews, Dying at Grace is an intimate and unflinching look at one of western society’s most resistantly-taboo subjects. “It is humbling to be brought face to face with death, but more than that, it is deeply rewarding. The generosity of each of the patients, their families, friends and caregivers is remarkable. They have given a rare gift to the living.” – 2003 Berlin Film Festival. Colour, DigiBeta, 147 mins

To be followed by a post-screening discussion with Allan King.

Recognized internationally for his pioneering work in cinema verité, Allan King’s groundbreaking productions include Skid Row (1956), Warrendale (1967), A Married Couple (1969), Who’s in Charge? (1983), Termini Station (1989) and The Dragon’s Egg (1999), as well as one of the most successful Canadian feature films ever produced: Who Has Seen the Wind? (1976).

Moderated by Caroline Coutts, Festival Director of Moving Pictures:
Canadian Films on Tour, this country’s only touring festival of exclusively Canadian cinema.

This screening sponsored by Moving Pictures: Canadian Films on Tour


2:00 – 4:00 pm Workshop: “Dying at Grace”: One on One with Allan King”

Making Dying at Grace presented a set of unique challenges. The Board and staff at Grace Health Centre held thorough discussions, covering clinical, ethical and legal issues and the need to ensure that all participation would be completely voluntary. Informed consent was an obvious requirement, and King readily agreed that it be part of the legal agreement necessary to make filming possible. While King wanted to explore “the experience of dying … to assist people to manage their fear of dying” the Centre also had a similar goal. The Board, staff and the families who agreed to participate, concurred that a film of this nature would help people to understand death. By providing material for staff and volunteer training, it could also educate all health care professionals and alleviate some confusion around palliative care. Join us as Allan King discusses his experiences in making Dying at Grace, and speaks about the singular ethical, moral and personal challenges inherent in making this film.

Moderated by Caroline Coutts, Festival Director, Moving Pictures: Canadian Films on Tour.

This workshop sponsored by Moving Pictures: Canadian Films on Tour


Closing Gala / Benefit Screening
7:30 pm Film Screening

A fundraiser/benefit for the Progressive Housing Society.
Special prices in effect – all tickets $12.50


Norway, 2001. Director: Petter Naess
Cast: Per Christian Ellefsen, Sven Nordin, Per Christensen, Jorgen Langhelle, Marit Pia Jacobsen

Norway’s highest grossing film of all time is a winning odd couple comedy with an interesting twist: Felix and Oscar’s Norse counterparts are both outpatients from a state-run mental health facility. Deeply neurotic, 40- year-old Elling (Per Christian Ellefsen) is sent to the facilty after his mother’s death. Elling’s roommate at the facility is Kjell Bjarne (Sven Nordin) – a lumbering, gentle giant with two things on his mind: food and sex, despite the fact that he’s still a virgin at the age of 40. After two years of peaceful cohabitation, the unthinkable happens: Elling and Kjell Bjarne are deemed fit to rejoin the world at large and are set up in a state-funded apartment in Oslo. For the first time in their lives, they’re expected to take care of themselves, but even the smallest tasks — like answering the phone — prove to be terrifying prospects. As Elling and Kjell Bjarne become accustomed to life on their own, their unlikely but deep-rooted friendship is strained when Kjell Bjarne falls in love with their single pregnant upstairs neighbour. Laugh-out-loud funny, the film still deftly manages to avoid many of the condescending stereotypes that so often plague films dealing with the mentally ill. Colour, 35mm, 89 mins.

Introductory comments by Lynn Wood, Executive Director, Progressive Housing Society

preceded by


Canada, 1999. Director: Gail Noonan Two children, searching for a lost mitten on a winter evening, stumble upon a cardboard shelter that seems to be someone’s home. Colour, 35mm, 6 mins.

Co-sponsored by the Progressive Housing Society


Festival Director: Dr. Harry Karlinsky

Advisory Committee: Caroline Coutts, Alan Franey, Judy Robertson, Bruce Saunders, Jim Sinclair

Co-Sponsoring Organizations: AstraZeneca, BC Schizophrenia Society, Canadian Mental Health Association – BC Div. & Vancouver/Burnaby Branch, Cineworks Independent Filmmakers Society, Movie Monday, Moving Pictures: Canadian Films on Tour, Praxis Centre for Screenwriters, Progressive Housing Society, Vancouver International FIlm Festival, Videomatica

Media Director: Steve Chow
Program Editor: Caroline Coutts
High School Outreach: Analee Weinberger