Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival 2009 launches

Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival 2009 launches

The Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival goes from strength to strength with a brave and varied bill in 2009

Singer Karine Polwart is just one of the many names putting her name – and voice – behind this year’s Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival. Now in its third year, the festival explores mental health in its broadest sense with almost 200 events taking place in over 100 settings around Scotland.

‘Even if you take away the important message behind it, it’s just an incredible thing to be involved in with people from all sorts of backgrounds,’ says Polwart. ‘It encourages collaboration between different musicians and writers and makes a really strong artistic statement without appearing in any way preachy.’

This year’s festival boasts everything from music gigs and dance performances, to theatre, literature, film screenings and song-writing workshops. Polwart believes the festival’s steady rise in establishing itself has only added to its credibility.

‘It’s grown into something really impressive and that’s to its credit. Some things start big and then sort of combust. But they’ve been very careful to build from the ground up, and so there’s nothing without real merit in the programme.

‘More than that it’s just great value for money at a fiver for some of the tickets.’

This year’s festival puts relationships and mental health in the spotlight, exploring gender and sexuality, language, bereavement, personal and public lives, under-represented groups and community connectedness. Highlights include Emma Pollock who performs alongside Polwart, as well as the Fifty Cents for Your Soul film season based on Marilyn Monroe’s famous quote. Other top picks include the NTS’s House of Bernarda Alba, The Trick is to Keep Writing, Scottish Women Speak and Mummy Said the F Word. Participation and well-being also take centre stage with over 40 workshops including comedy, creative writing and song-writing workshops, plus film-making courses for young people.

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