2nd Annual Frames of Mind Mental Health Film Festival

May 12-15, 2005


Canada, 2003. Dir: Manfred Becker
Post-screening discussant: Manfred Becker
THURS. MAY 12th at 7:30 pm

“In my eyes, both Adolf Hitler and my grandfather were false prophets of the 20th century.” – Sophie Freud, granddaughter of Sigmund.  

This riveting documentary is a portrait of two men who shaped the 20th century. Each saw himself as a liberator. Sigmund Freud, a Jew, gave humanity the “unconscious,” hoping to free man from his irrational instincts.  Adolf Hitler unleashed those instincts to liberate the German people from their perceived enemy, the Jews.  And yet, once these two men had been neighbours. For seven years at the turn of the century, both shared Vienna as their home. The two men also shared the ambition to convince others of the incontestable truth of their beliefs – with long-lasting and, in Hitler’s case, horrific consequences. In the film, several witnesses of Freud’s life and times, including granddaughter Sophie Freud, make a convincing argument that the struggle for the unconscious was the central conflict of the last century. Today, scant decades since the golden age of psychoanalysis from 1920 to 1970, Freud’s theories are in danger of being marginalized to the fringes of psychiatric practice.  Neighbours intriguingly examines the philosophies and strangely parallel existences of two critical historical figures of the 20th century. Colour and B&W, DigiBeta video. 60 mins.

Post-screening discussion with director Manfred Becker. After growing up in postwar Germany, Manfred Becker entered Canada as a semi-legal immigrant and was soon working as a film editor alongside pre-eminent documentary directors such as Peter Watkins, Sturla Gunnarsson and Nettie Wild.  Neighbours is his third documentary as a director.

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky. 


FRI. MAY 13th at 7:30 pm
USA/Spain, 2003. Dir: Brad Anderson
Cast: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, John Sharian, Michael Ironside
Post-screening discussant: Dr. Roland Atkinson

Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) has lost the ability to sleep. But this is no ordinary insomnia: Trevor hasn’t slept in a year, and fatigue has led to a shocking deterioration of his physical and mental health. When his co-workers at the machine shop where he works blame him for an accident that costs a man his arm, his private hell only deepens. Ostracized by his fellow workers, eaten away by a devastating guilt, and increasingly paranoid that someone will try to exact revenge for his error, Trevor begins to suspect that none of this has happened by chance and someone is behind these terrible events.  First he finds cryptic notes left in his apartment. Next he’s told that a mysterious co-worker involved in the accident doesn’t exist. Are these mysteries part of a plot to drive Trevor mad? Or is it fatigue that’s robbing him of his reason? Brad Anderson (Next Stop Wonderland) crafts a moody, masterful thriller—an expressionistic hallucination bathed in blue steel where several warped realities remain possible right to the end.  Bale is a powerfully unnerving presence, and famously lost one-third of his body weight to play the role (subsisting on one apple and a can of tuna a day to drop to 120 pounds). Colour, 35mm, 102 mins.

Post-screening discussion with Dr. Roland Atkinson, professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.  Dr. Atkinson’s teaching, research and clinical practice have focused on substance abuse, geriatrics and general outpatient psychiatric practice.  A long-time cinephile, he sees and reviews over 200 movies a year.  His general cinema website,, contains reviews of current and old films.  His specialized website,, offers hundreds of reviews and articles on films featuring psychiatric themes.  

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky.


SAT. MAY 14th at 7:30 pm
Belgium/France/Iceland, 2003. Dir: Solveig Anspach
Post-screening discussant: Dr. Laura Chapman
Cast: Élodie Bouchez, Didda Jónsdóttir, Baltasar Kormákur, Ingvar Sigurdsson

Cora (Élodie Bouchez), a young psychiatrist at a clinic in Brussels, takes up the case of a nameless woman (Didda Jónsdóttir) who refuses to speak and is prone to sudden outbursts of rage. Cora sets out to slowly gain the confidence of her new charge, taking her on walks in the woods and patiently testing her psychological boundaries. There are signs of improvement, but when it is discovered the patient is from Iceland she is swiftly removed from Cora’s care and returned home. Worried about the woman’s fragile mental state, Cora impulsively follows her to the remote village of Vestmannaeyjar and begins a voyage that will ultimately challenge her to the core as a therapist. Icelandic-born director Sólveig Anspach displays deliberate patience with her characters, and her exploration of the fragile bond between therapist and client is aided by outstanding and touching performances from Bouchez and Jónsdóttir. Beautifully filmed against the backdrop of the harsh Icelandic landscape, Stormy Weather is both elegiac and down-to-earth, with Cora’s psychoanalytical worldview brought into stark contrast with the humble workaday musings of the Icelandic villagers. Official Selection, Un Certain Regard, 2003 Cannes Film Festival. Colour, 35mm, in English, French and Icelandic with English subtitles. 90 mins

Post-screening discussion with Dr. Laura Chapman, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry in the UBC Faculty of Medicine.  Dr. Chapman has provided psychiatric consultation to the B.C. communities of the Queen Charlotte Islands, Terrace and Smithers through the provincial psychiatric outreach program, and is well versed on the challenges faced by (and resourcefulness of) smaller, often isolated communities. As well, she has worked at UBC in the Sleep Disorders Program, in community psychiatry, and in a “dual-diagnosis” program for people with addictions and psychiatric illness.

Moderated by Caroline Coutts, Associate Festival Director 


SUN. MAY 15th at 7:30 pm
USA, 2004. Dir: Susan Smiley
Post-screening discussant: Susan Smiley
Introduced by Mayor Larry Campbell and Karen O’Shannacery
A Benefit for the Lookout Emergency Aid Society

This very personal documentary chronicles the filmmaker’s mother, Millie, and her family through Millie’s battle with schizophrenia, and her subsequent trials within the public health system. Millie was just 25 with two small children when she was first plagued by the symptoms of schizophrenia. As mental chaos overwhelmed their mother, filmmaker Susan and sister Tina struggled to cope. For years, the family’s ignorance and shame kept Millie’s behaviour shrouded in a veil of secrecy. When her children left home, Millie’s life unravelled completely. Smiley weaves recent interviews with her mother, sister, and other relatives with old family home movies, which occasionally shows the young Millie, blond and gorgeous, playing happily with her babies, but more often finds her staring blankly at the camera. Out of the Shadow succeeds in portraying the frustration of loving someone who’s mentally ill, capturing the times Millie is rational, warm, and funny as well as her chilling episodes of hostility and delusion. A story of madness and dignity, shame and love, this intimate film helps dispel the stigmas and misconceptions surrounding this harrowing illness. Colour, DigiBeta video. 67 mins.

Introductory comments by His Worship Larry Campbell, Mayor of the City of Vancouver, and Karen O’Shannacery, Executive Director, Lookout Emergency Aid Society

Post-screening discussion with Susan Smiley. An award-winning documentary filmmaker, Ms. Smiley is the producer, director and writer of Out of the Shadow, which will have its broadcast premiere on PBS in the fall of 2005.  Prior to making this film, she produced and directed documentaries for the Discovery Channel, History Channel, Sci Fi Channel, MTV, and the Frontline series on PBS.

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky.



Treating Tony Soprano

Sat. May 14th at 2:00 pm
Workshop leader: Dr. Roland Atkinson

The immensely popular HBO television series The Sopranos has from its beginnings featured as a prominent subplot the outpatient psychiatric treatment of Tony Soprano (played by James Gandolfini), the series’ main protagonist, a well-to-do suburbanite with two teenage kids and the de facto leader of a New Jersey Mafia family.  It was the onset of panic attacks with fainting spells that drove Tony to seek care from Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco), and their early sessions make up the central motif in the very first pilot episode. Along the way, and particularly in its first season, The Sopranos has presented perhaps the most intelligent, nuanced and honest portrayal of a psychiatrist at work ever rendered on screen in a fictional context. 

This workshop will explore in detail the treatment relationship that develops between Tony Soprano and Dr. Melfi over the course of the 13 one-hour episodes that make up the first season (1999-2000) of The Sopranos.  Five themes will be addressed:  (1) Tony’s symptoms, diagnoses and biological treatments; (2) instances of effective psychotherapy; (3) Tony’s various expressions of resistance and Dr. Melfi’s efforts to counter them; (4) Dr. Melfi’s gaffes: boundary violations and faulty psychotherapeutic tactics; and (5) general ethical considerations, such as the question of whether it is justifiable to even attempt to treat a person with major criminal involvements.  Methods used will include illustrative film clips from the episodes, audience response and discussion, and remarks by the workshop leader.

Workshop leader: Dr. Roland Atkinson, professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.  (See The Machinist description above for complete bio.) 

The Sterilization of Leilani Muir

Sun. May 15th at 2:00 pm
Canada 1996. Director: Glynis Whiting
Participants: Leilani Muir and Jay Chalke:

Twenty-five years ago Leilani Muir was informed she would never be able to conceive a child. Unbeknownst to her, at the age of 14 she had been sexually sterilized under Alberta’s Sterilization Act.  The film entwines her personal search for justice with the background story of eugenics, a respected “science” during the early decades of the twentieth century. In 1928, the Alberta government, supported by some of society’s most prominent members, passed the Sterilization Act, aimed at those considered “unfit” to bear children.  Included in its wide net were new immigrants, alcoholics, epileptics, unwed mothers, the poor, and native people. By the time the Act was repealed in 1972, the lives of nearly 3,000 individuals had been irreparably altered.  The film opens as Leilani, after years of emotional and legal preparation, goes to court to sue the Alberta government. Colour, Beta SP video. 47 mins.

Workshop participants will include:

Leilani (nee Muir) O’Malley, whose courage that prompted the successful legal proceedings against Alberta’s eugenics legislation. Leilani will provide a personal update on the impact of her successful court challenge. 

Jay Chalke, Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia, who operates under provincial laws to protect the legal rights and financial and personal interests of individuals who cannot protect themselves, including children, adults who require assistance in decision-making, and deceased or missing persons. The Public Guardian and Trustee has brought legal proceedings against the governments of Alberta and British Columbia on behalf of individuals who were sterilized for eugenics purposes. 

Dr. Joseph Berg, professor emeritus in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, and former director of biomedical services and research at Surrey Place Centre, Toronto. Dr. Berg’s career, both academically and clinically, has been primarily in the field of intellectual disability with particular reference to its genetic facets. He has published extensively in that field and has had a long-standing interest in the history and past practices of eugenics in various countries, including Canada.


Festival Director:

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

Associate Festival Director:

Caroline Coutts. Co-produced with Pacific Cinémathèque. 


Tickets (screenings & workshops): $8.50 Adults / $7.00 Students & Seniors. 

May 15 benefit screening: $15.00. 

Festival Co-Sponsoring Organizations:

BC Schizophrenia Society, Canadian Mental Health Association – BC Division and Vancouver/Burnaby Branch, Cineworks Independent Filmmakers Society, The Georgia Straight, Lookout  Emergency Aid Society, Movie Monday, The National Film Board of Canada, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Vancouver Jewish Film Festival, Videomatica