The 5th Annual Au Contraire Film Festival (ACFF) launches on 24th October. As always, the festival will showcase edgy and thought-provoking feature and short films and documentaries from around the world, all followed by emotive, hard-hitting panel discussions on key topics on mental illness. Through the lens of film, ACFF strives to achieve awareness of and advocacy for mental health issues by:
- Purposely seeking out edgy, thought-provoking films from around the world which explore multiple mental-health issues from numerous viewpoints
- Featuring post-screening panels comprised of film participants, movie directors, producers, receivers of mental health services, mental health professionals
- Enlightening the audience about perceptions of mental illness through participation and discussion
- Reaching out to all members of our society
In the great Au Contraire Film Festival (ACFF) tradition, boundaries will be broken, envelopes pushed and stigmas erased. To set the tone on opening night Tuesday October 24th, Florence K, the 2017 ACFF spokesperson, who has struggled with severe depression and now dedicates much of her time to breaking the stigma that envelopes mental illness today, will inaugurate this very special 5th anniversary edition. Florence’s opening remarks will be followed by the Canadian Première screening of “Elizabeth Blue“, Vincent Sabella’s fictional, yet experienced- based story of how true love cannot be broken by anything, including mental illness. Vincent and producer Joe Dain will be in attendance and take part in the post-screening Q&A, and the evening will finish with the traditional opening night dessert reception.
Exploring the relationship between creativity and mental health, Wednesday 25th is Soirée Lumière, a benefit evening for ACFF and Week-ends Champêtres. A film and live performance by la Troupe des Audacieux, will be followed by two medium-length films; Apnée, directed by Alexis Chartrand, is a Quebecois production that tells a delicate story dealing with the theme of depression through the life of a young music student; and the Canadian Premiere of Hum; the story of Kevin Nolan who was diagnosed at 19 years old with schizoaffective disorder and began writing music to regain some of the freedom he’d lost due to his illness. ‘Hum’ is an intimate and music-fuelled tour of Kevin’s world. Alexis Chartrand and the director and subject of Hum, Nathan Fagan and Kevin Nolan will attend the event and take part in the post-screening Q&A.
On the afternoon of Thursday 26th, the annual ACFF ¨Documentale Series¨, will feature short films under the patronage of RACOR, an Association that represents nearly a hundred community and alternative organizations involved in the mental health of Montrealers. The afternoon program includes the Canadian premiere of Swedish production Fomo Sapiens. On Thursday evening ACFF is proud to present a benefit evening for Chabad LIFELINE with the incredibly moving documentary 32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide; 32 PILLS traces the fascinating life and mental illness of the director’s sister, New York artist and photographer Ruth Litoff, and the director’s struggle to come to terms with her tragic suicide. Director Hope Litoff and producer Beth Levison will attend the screening.
To round off ACFF 2017, Friday 27th sees three different programs. At 1pm, the HR matinee presents a series of films which address the challenges facing companies both large and small with issues surrounding the mental health of their employees. At 3:30pm, a program of short films reserved for members of Montreal’s marginalized mental health community features Audley Inspirational a film directed by Montrealer and ACFF’s very own Thea Apostolopoulos,. At 7pm, Animated Minds, a program of stunning animated short films from around the world explores all areas of mental illness. Featuring, among others, Blue Light (UK), where emergency service personnel talk about the realities of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; Shadowlands, a Swedish-made exploration of the darkness within; and Whatever The Weather (Switzerland) about the nightmares of a daughter with an alcoholic mother.
The full festival schedule is here.