Industry Event – Symposium: The Changing World of Documenting Madness
Full Program: 10:00am-4:00pm
Sunday November 11, 2012
TIFF Bell Lightbox
350 King St West
Panel Discussion by to close moderated by Geoff Pevere
Madness has always fascinated filmmakers. This symposium explores the changing attitudes, politics and perspectives surrounding mental illness as portrayed in documentary films from Titicut Follies through to 21st Century digital docs. Writer, broadcaster, film critic and pop culturist Geoff Pevere will moderate the day, sharing his in-depth cinematic knowledge as we dissect, discover and discuss the changing world of documenting madness. Starting the morning with the screening of his seminal black and white film, Titicut Follies, Frederick Wiseman, will join us via Skype. Next, Charles Kiselyak will discuss his insider’s view into the making of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, after the screenings of his documentaries Asylum and Completely Cuckoo, which features intimate interviews with the stars of Milos Forman’s classic film, highlighting the unique melding of the world of real patients of the mental health hospital with that of Hollywood actors during the filming to allow for a more authentic portrayal. We will hear more about filming people with lived experience in the telling of their intense, individual stories from the Here at Home/Chez Soi web documentary co-production team of the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the National Film Board of Canada. This radical pilot project is reaching out to more than 2,200 homeless participants with mental illness from five Canadian cities, the largest experiment of its kind in the world.
Frederick Wiseman, USA, 1967, 84 minutes, English, Documentary Feature
TITICUT FOLLIES is a documentary film that tells you more than you could possibly want to know — but no more than you should know — about life behind the walls of one of those institutions where we file and forget the criminal insane… A society’s treatment of the least of its citizens — and surely these are the least of ours — is perhaps the best measure of its civilization. The repulsive reality revealed in TITICUT FOLLIES forces us to contemplate our capacity for callousness.
–Richard Schickel, Life
TITICUT FOLLIES is a great work, a near-masterpiece not just of the documentary form, but of moviemaking in any category. It’s a film that transcends the time and place of its manufacture, and it should be seen not just by documentarians and film students but by anyone interested in the movies as a medium capable of powerfully presenting the human condition.
–Ray Greene, Village View
Director: Frederick Wiseman has made 37 documentaries and two fiction films. He has won numerous awards including four Emmys, a MacArthur Prize Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Charles Kiselyak, USA, 2010, 31 minutes, English, Documentary
Tracing the evolution of psychiatric hospitals and unpacking the understated obstacles awaiting discharged patients as they are thrown into a largely intolerant society by institutions that have become their safe havens.
Director: Charles Kiselyak is most credited for his longstanding experience in writing, producing and directing documentaries for video and television series’. Through his work on such iconic projects as Jacob’s Ladder, Easy Rider, and The Sixth Sense, he has perfected the documentary formula and continues to invite audiences onto the sets of acclaimed motion pictures.
Charles Kiselyak, USA, 1997, 47 minutes, English, Documentary
From an outsider’s perspective, gaining true insight into the world of madness is next to impossible. Appreciation for the blurred lines between reality and imagination can be only of speculation. RWM attempts to bridge this gap by providing audiences with a chance to escape into the lived experience. That is why we are so pleased to relive both the 1962 novel by Ken Kinsey and the adapted Oscar-winning film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) through this screening of the iconic Completely Cuckoo (1997).
Revealing all the ups and downs from initial inception to public reception, this behind-the-scenes documentary sheds light on how the film gripped the attention of mass audiences and presented an unforgettable depiction of mental health. Most interestingly, Completely Cuckoo highlights the unique strategy to mend the world of real patients of the mental institution with that of the Hollywood actors during filming to allow for a more authentic portrayal. Paying tribute to the historic story, Completely Cuckoo reveals the strong inspiration, collaboration and dedication of the close, diverse production team.
In Completely Cuckoo and Asylum , Kiselyak brilliantly organizes insightful interviews with the creators, actors, and crew that intensifies respect for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Through Kiselak’s work, audiences become privy to the challenges and struggles met with making an Oscar-winning film.
Here at Home (Chez Soi)
Mental Health Commission of Canada and the NFB, Canada, 2012, World Theatrical Premiere
The prevalence of mental illness among people who are homeless across Canada is of urgent concern. Efforts to address homelessness have traditionally relied on treating mental illness before tackling housing. However, in 2008, the Mental Health Commission of Canada was given a $110 million government grant for the At Home study to prove the contrary: that housing must precede treatment for best results and even cost-effectiveness. As the largest experiment of its kind in the world, this radical pilot project has impressive reach, recruiting more than 2200 homeless participants with mental illness from five Canadian cities. For comparative purposes, half of the participants were offered housing in neighbourhoods of choice using a housing subsidy approach and were also provided with outreach based services and supports, while the other half carried on as usual. When At Home comes to a close in March 2013, the evidence of the ‘Housing First’ experiment will be published and the real cost of homelessness will be revealed. Already, recently released one year findings provide strong evidence supporting this approach to addressing homelessness among people with mental illness.
Over the course of the study, the National Film Board is producing 50 short documentary films that provide a glimpse into the world of participants, service providers, researchers and community members. These intense, individual stories form chapters of the Here at Home web documentary, an interactive window on the study that includes supplementary data and a dynamic blog.
A selection of these short films will be screened at RWM to provoke a stimulating discussion on the ethical considerations of representing subjects with mental illness in documentaries.
Moderator: Geoff Pevere has been writing, broadcasting, teaching and lecturing about media, movies and pop culture for thirty-five years. He’s the co-author of the nationally best-selling Mondo Canuck: A Canadian Pop Culture Odyssey, a movie columnist with the Globe & Mail and most recently the author of Donald Shebib’s Goin’ Down the Road from U. of T. Press.
Defeat Denial Awareness Campaign
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Foundation, 2012, World Theatrical Premiere
To close the Symposium, a special documentary clip will be presented by the CAMH Foundation on the provocative Defeat Denial awareness campaign. This feature will demonstrate a contemporary example of the current representations of people with mental illness and addiction and the value of social media in addressing harmful perceptions.
Industry Talk – Mad Money: Funding Mental Health Content in the 21st Century
This event is offered free of charge.
Tuesday November 13, 2012*
TIFF Bell Lightbox
350 King St West
* Correction please note
Have an idea about a film project about mental health and addictions but not sure where to get the money? Industry insiders share their knowledge of where and how to obtain funding for film projects. Stephanie McArthur, Hot Docs Forum & Market Manager, and Lisa Fitzgibbons, Executive Director of the Documentary Organization of Canada, will share their knowledge of grants, pitch opportunities and tips of how to navigate through the artisanal and industry approaches to getting your film idea funded. They will be joined by filmmakers who have been successful with crowd source fundraising strategies for their own film projects.
Ann Shin will be present of the Fathom Film Group, who raised over $20,000 from 174 backers on her Kickstarter campaign for her film, The Defector: Escape from North Korea. Filmed undercover, the documentary follows the perilous journey of two North Korean defectors and the broker who guides them to freedom.
ANN SHIN is a multiple Gemini nominee and award-winning filmmaker, and a producer and director of documentaries, series and cross-platform projects. Her films have screened and won awards at festivals including: the Montreal World Film Festival, Mumbai International Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival and the Chris Awards. She has directed and series-produced for History Channel, Discovery Network, CBC, CBC Newsworld, W Network, HGTV, and Vision TV. Her credits include Gemini nominee for Best Performance Doc, Four Seasons Mosaic (CBC), Best First Feature Film Post-Concussion (at Taos Film Festival), and Chris Award-winning The Roswell Incident. The Defector is her first feature-length documentary and she is currently in development on her second feature documentary with CBC.
AVI FEDERGREEN is the second filmmaker that will be in attendance and has nearly 20 years of experience in the Canadian film industry featuring many highlights, from music videos to TV series to full-length feature films. His current releases include Still directed by Michael McGowan, Random Acts of Romance directed by Katrin Bowen and the first ever Canadian fully financed 3D feature Dead Before Dawn directed by April Mullen. Federgreen’s other producing credits include the opening night film at TIFF 2010, Score: A Hockey Musical, Moon Point, I’m Yours, George Ryga’s HUNGRY HILLS, One Week, High Life, Leslie, My Name Is Evil, and the documentary As Slow as Possible. In November 2011, Federgreen opened his own film distribution company INDIECAN ENTERTAINMENT, servicing not just up-and-coming Canadian filmmakers, but also those indies making films in a lower budget bracket who have otherwise virtually no chance to shine in a market of big studios, distributors and exhibitors.