Wheelchair Accessible Venue
Michelle Esrick / 2018 / USA / 95 min / FREE
TOPIC: CELEBRITY, DEPRESSION, FAMILY, TRAUMA
TYPE: FILM, PANEL/Q&A
In this free screening on Bell Let’s Talk Day, witness the impact childhood trauma can have over a lifetime through the story of master impressionist, comedian and Saturday Night Live veteran Darrell Hammond. While shining brilliantly in the spotlight, Hammond struggled with drugs, alcohol and debilitating flashbacks—and was misdiagnosed by doctors for decades. Not until a suicide attempt brought him together with Dr. Nabil Kotbi was he properly treated, unleashing the memories his brain had locked away for over 50 years. Director Michelle Esrick balances humour and tragedy to create a poignant story of hope and resilience.
Followed by a Q&A with director Michelle Esrick and special guests.
In partnership with Bell Let’s Talk and Hot Docs, we’re showcasing a series of free docs-and-conversations about mental health leading up to and on the 10th annual Bell Let’s Talk Day. Join the conversation to break the stigma around mental illness and help create positive change. Each doc will feature a post-screening Q&A with special guests and experts.
In recognition of the potentially triggering content of the participating films, supportive listeners will be present at each screening.
Tickets: FREE (maximum of two per person). Available as of Tuesday, January 7.
CreateTruth Productions in Association with Workman Arts / Written by Lorene Stanwick / Directed by Philip McKee
TOPIC: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, FAMILY
“A powerful, bold and beautiful piece."
– Judith Thompson, two-time winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama and celebrated Canadian Playwright
They are our friends, our role models and rivals. They define who we are, perhaps more than our parents. We grow up together. They get inside our heads.
What happens when we can’t get them out …?
Rachel runs away with her daughter, arriving unexpectedly at her childhood home. Jade spends more nights in the college art studio than she does in her own bedroom. The sudden reappearance of Josh’s mother forces him to take a hard look at his life. Now, all three of them must confront the truth about their childhood, as its impact on their adult lives is revealed.
Told with honesty – and humour – Broken Branches reveals secrets, lies, family dynamics … and the resilience to survive. Produced by CreateTruth Productions in Association with Workman Arts, the award-winning multi-disciplinary arts and mental health organization, Broken Branches starts a long-overdue conversation, shedding light on an important yet silent issue: sibling abuse.
By making the invisible visible, their stories will forever change the way we see sibling relationships.
Aboozar Amini / 2018 / Dari and Pashto with English Subtitles / Netherlands, Afghanistan, Japan, Germany / 88 min
In this subtle and beautiful documentary portrait, first time feature film director Aboozar Amini captures the everyday lives of 12-year old Afshin and his younger brother Benjamin alongside bus driver Abas. The three subjects of this subtle portrait of Kabul take us on a journey of their daily lives where war is omnipresent. Amini’s gentle camerawork gives us time to witness the intricacies of life in Kabul where dust appears as a main “character” in the film. Kabul, City in the Wind unfolds via intimate direct interviews with the subjects and observations of daily routines: in between the markets and helicopters buzzing, Abas’s bus keeps breaking down and Afshin becomes head of the household when their father, a former soldier, unexpectedly has to go to Iran. Kabul, a city that is mostly known for war and death, is presented lovingly as home for those who strive for a better tomorrow.
Trauma & Addiction in Kabul
Kabul, City in the Wind is an intimate and heartbreaking look at families affected by war and trauma in Kabul. We will take time after the film to process and discuss our impressions and responses with guests and experts who have lived experience and who work within a trauma informed lens.
Bahman Farmanara / 2018 / Farsi with English Subtitles / Iran / 97 min
This delicate and quiet film, part family drama part homage to older Iranian artists, comes from veteran director Bahman Farmanara. Taher Mohebi, a well-known writer, breaks down after witnessing a violent murder and spends three years in a mental institution. After his release Taher is told that things are just as they were before, but his relentless hallucinations make him want to return to the institution. This film is dedicated to Abbas Kiarostami and affectionately displays the late master’s understanding of complex human relationships.
Mental Health and Film in Iranian Canadian Communities
For over a decade, the Intercultural Iranian Canadian Resource Centre (I2CRC) and Rendezvous with Madness have collaborated to present Iranian films that explore mental health and addiction issues as well as host post-show discussions and beautiful pre-show receptions. This year is no exception as we close the festival with Iranian food, conversation, and of course, films!
Esther Rots / 2018 / Dutch and Flemish with English Subtitles / Netherlands, Belgium / 101 min
Retrospect is a chaotic puzzle of an unreliable narrator’s memories, anarchic bursts of punk music, sporadic and shredded timeline. And yet, in the heart of the story are Mette and her so-called ‘perfect’ nuclear family. Mette (Circé Lethem) is a domestic violence support worker, and the film starts with her intervening in a violent and abusive altercation involving a strange young couple on vacation. It then jumps to a family dinner where Mette confronts her husband, who clearly doesn’t equate the importance of her career to his. After this uncomfortable scene, back to the future and Mette in the hospital following a catastrophic accident. She’s now in a wheelchair and has no recollection of preceding events. Gradually, Mette starts remembering how she invited Lee (Lien Wildemeersch), a client, to escape an abusive partner by moving in. The arrangement soon explodes, Mette’s flashbacks offering only vague clues to the calamity. But who is really to blame for Mette’s downfall?
Iain Cunningham / 2018 / UK / 82 min / Canadian Premiere
Irene’s Ghost is a stunning 6-years-in-the-making documentary that follows a son’s search to find out about the mother he never knew. Cunningham breaks the silence and tracks down his mother’s friends and family to rebuild a picture of her. Cunningham was three when his Mother Irene died. His Father never spoke of it and the family’s silence around Irene meant that she was alive only in Cunningham’s imagination as a thistle seed or in the image of the moon. The birth of his own child inspires a journey to discover the truth about Irene, piecing together fragments of the past to make sense of the present. Utilizing gorgeous animation alongside moving archival footage, Irene’s Ghost lovingly rebuilds Irene’s lost life.
Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days
Regina Pessoa | 2019 | Canada | 13 mins | Toronto Premiere
Regina Pessoa’s latest animation beautifully illustrates her childhood memories of her charming and idiosyncratic uncle. This film is a testament of Pessoa’s love and admiration for her uncle’s unique spirit.
How does talking about (or not talking about) post-partum depression and post-partum psychosis impact women and families? After the screening of Irene’s Ghost, we will explore the complicated layers of how post-partum disorders are understood and felt personally as well as culturally through first hand experiences from women and professionals in discussion with the filmmaker.