Dialogues With Madwomen

Thursday October 16, 2003 – 7:30 pm
USA 1993. Director: Allie Light

A ground-breaking, Emmy-award winning documentary about women and mental illness. This moving and informative film features seven women – including Light and Karen Wong, the film’s associate producer – describing their experiences with depression, bipolar disorder, multiple personalities, schizophrenia, euphoria and recovery. Intercut with candid interviews are dramatic reenactments of key events in the women’s lives; vivid depictions of the sometimes frightening, sometimes exhilarating mental states experienced by the women; films and still photographs from the women’s childhoods; and archival film footage of psychiatric wards. The social dimensions of women and mental illness are revealed in testimony about sexual assault, incest, racism and homophobia; the abuses of the medical establishment, family, and church. Acknowledging that “madness” is often a way of explaining women’s self-expression, the director has created a complex, moving portrait of women in whom mental illness coexists with powerful, sometimes inspired levels of creativity. While stories of sadness, loss, and often horrific abuse are recounted in the film, ultimately the larger themes are courage and resilience – showing the women as survivors and as – perhaps surprisingly for some people – “normal” people. Colour, 16mm, 90 mins.

The program will include a post-screening discussion with:
Liz Choquette, RN BScN, Abuse Resource Worker for the Vancouver Community Mental Health Services, Vancouver Coastal Health;

Marina Morrow, PhD, Research Associate with the BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health, and a lecturer in the UBC Women’s Studies Program; and

Jill Stainsby, MA, Consumer Support Worker/Community Mental Health Worker for the Vancouver Community Mental Health Services, Vancouver Coastal Health, and 2003 winner of the Coast Foundation Courage to Come Back Award for Mental Health.

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

Co-sponsored by Women and Mental Health Committee of the Vancouver Community Mental Health Services of Vancouver Coastal Health, and the Women and Mental Health Discussion Group of the BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health.