We were part of a world-première movie screening last night. It was an amazing night, and the culmination of lots of people’s work in making the movie, and of a determined group people in our region who wanted to be part of this special event. The movie is called Healing Voices. It is a very moving exploration of other ways to think about ‘mental illness’ and other ways to relate to people who ‘hear voices’ – with more openness, less fear, more compassion and more connection.
The night here in Adelaide came about initially through the enthusiasm and commitment of Matt, a mental health nurse working down south here (and with his own personal experience of ‘mental illness’), and a group of his colleagues and friends. They knew of the film, and of the plan the film-makers had for a simultaneous launch of the film all over the world in community venues on 29 April. They were keen to participate if at all possible, and came to CHO for support with putting on the show. Matt had to buy a copy of the film, and we (CHO) were added as the venue for the night on the film’s website. Matt and the organising group plus the rest of us worked to put the word out and plan the night. We organised supper, and Matt hosted a forum afterwards for community members wishing to stay and talk about issues the film raised. We had very little idea till the night how many people would come and how it would all go.
Well it was a fantastic night, attended by around 150 people. Here are a few…The film is so warm and open and hopeful, and really shows another way to support people who experience ‘hearing voices’ and ‘alternative realities’. It showed the impact of peer support groups, and the power of exploring the lives and situations of those who experience ‘different realities’, rather than just medicating them. I loved the film for its emphasis on connection, the way it places people’s experiences within the normal range rather than blanketing all voice hearing as part of an illness, and for the fantastic opportunity it gave to hear about the key characters’ very human stories.
The discussion after the film was so respectful and interesting, it really felt an honour to be there, with a diverse, caring and curious bunch of ordinary/amazing folk, who are also only too aware of the difficulties of making change in this area. I was really inspired and uplifted by the whole thing (as you can no doubt tell by the way I am going on here), and thank Matt and everyone else who helped to pull off Christies Beach’s first ever world première.PS: This post is called One Night, One Voice as this is the name of the joint screenings of the film on 29 April… see the film’s website for all these details and more (links to various bits of the website are indicated above).