The Reel Mind Theatre and Film Series will return next week, continuing its more than 10 year mission to fight the social stigma of mental illness by shining a spotlight on topics far too many of us are content to sweep out of mind.
The series presents empowering stories of advocacy and psychiatric wellness told through film, music, and art. This year's lineup focuses on the difficult topic of suicide, highlighting stories of suicide survivors that seek to spread a message of hope and recovery.
Things get started with a screening of "Evelyn," from British filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel. With this film, the director behind the Oscar-winning documentary "The White Helmets" turns the cameras on himself and his family, as they grapple with the suicide of his brother Evelyn, 13 years prior. Evelyn's death was a loss Orlando and his family never allowed themselves to fully deal with, and in an attempt to spur the healing process the filmmaker proposes a trip to hike the trails and landscapes his brother had once loved. As Einsiedel intimately chronicles their journey, the family finally allow themselves to open up and grieve for the first time. A Q&A with the filmmaker's sister Gwennie von Einsiedel will follow the screening. (Tuesday, May 14, 7 p.m., Cinema Theater)
"The S Word" is filmmaker Lisa Klein's effort to start a conversation and confront the silence that too-often surrounds suicide. Spotlighting attempt survivors from all walks of life, Klein's film gives them an opportunity to share their stories and connect with a national community of individuals who are turning their trauma into advocacy. A post-film discussion, with one of the film's subjects, Kelechi Ubozoh, will have a focus on mental illness in communities of color. (Tuesday, May 21, 7 p.m., Cinema Theater)
Harnessing the cathartic power of laughter in the face of loss, "Every Brilliant Thing" presents a filmed live performance of the titular off-Broadway production. The solo show, written by Duncan Macmillan and starring British comedian Jonny Donahoe, is about a man who attempts to lift the spirits of his clinically depressed mother by creating a list of the pleasurable things that make life worth living. (Tuesday, June 4, 7 p.m., Cinema Theater)
The 2019 edition of Reel Mind will close out with an evening of film and art at the JCC Hart Theatre (1200 Edgewood Avenue). The night's events will begin with the "Illumination" juried art exhibit at 6 p.m. That will be followed up by a screening of "Design-Ability," a documentary focusing on the highly successful Barcelona-based design studio La Casa de Carlota, whose creative team includes members with Down syndrome and autism. That screening will also include a short advance look at the latest project from OC87 Recovery Diaries. (Tuesday, June 18, 7 p.m.)
Full series passes for Reel Mind are available for $28 (which includes four films, and the "Illumination" art exhibit); Individual film tickets are $8. Tickets are available online until 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14. More details can be found at reelmindfilmfest.org.