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Hackney film school celebrate after their work makes final cut of festival

09:00 05 May 2014

Former nurse Phyllis Grant, 69, participated in the Inna Vision Film school project to challenge negative stereotypes of people with mental health problems.

Former nurse Phyllis Grant, 69, participated in the Inna Vision Film school project to challenge negative stereotypes of people with mental health problems.

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Attendees of a film school set up to challenge negative stereotypes of mental health problems are celebrating after their work was shortlisted for a well-known festival.

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Five films produced by participants of Inna Vision will be screened at the East End Film Festival (EEFF), which is one of the largest in the UK and well-known internationally. The festival supports first or second films from global and local independent filmmakers and presents a diverse programme of international premieres, industry masterclasses and immersive live events.

The Inna Vision Film School, which is based in Mentmore Terrace in London Fields, was set up in July as a year-long project for adults with lived experience of mental health issues ranging from depression to hearing voices. The project is funded by Time To Change, a programme which seeks to end stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems. The film school is a partnership between a participatory film practice Loud Minority in Millfields Road, Clapton; mental health and arts agency Mellow in Tower Hamlets, African-Caribbean mental health group East London Hopefuls in Newham; and Social Action for Health in Tower Hamlets.

Bhavesh Hindocha, co-leader of Loud Minority and tutor at the school, said: “The films are very individual and are made from different perspectives. The purpose of them is to challenge people’s stereotypes of mental health issues.

“It’s not easy getting into the East End film festival. I was really happy that they valued the project. We are chuffed they have recognised the value of what’s not normally valued in mainstream. They tend to value major feature films.”

Former BBC assistant producer Mr Hindocha has been working on mental health projects for a number of years.

He said: “I’ve worked for several years in this area and have done several films about issues people face. We were trying to challenge the idea that mental health issues happens to other people. It can’t happen to any of us, or someone close to us, at some point in our lives. It’s part of the human condition. We want to break down taboos that stop people being open and honest about their mental health - sharing their experiences not only of the problems, but also the things that help keep us happy, healthy and whole. And we wanted people who’ve had lived experience of mental problems to be shown and seen in a positive light - as active, creative and valuable people in our society.”

The project has engaged people from a range of backgrounds. One participant Phyllis Grant, 69, who worked simultaneously as a nurse and a cleaner at Queen Mary University before retiring screened her film to students at the university. The Newham resident said: “It’s been a very interesting experience. I’ve really enjoyed it. The film is about me and coming to this country and working. I have not suffered mental health issues but I work with people who face problems. This project has helped to keep me focused and not worry about people.”

n. Film screenings will be held in a variety of locations over the next six weeks including Hackney Attic at the Hackney Picturehouse in Mare Street on Saturday (May 10). For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1400398130238238.

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