Art With Impact promotes mental wellness by creating space for young people to learn and connect through art and media. Through their online monthly short film competition, they expand and make available the world’s most diverse and compelling collection of short films on mental health, supporting a network of filmmakers, artists and young people in an interactive online community. We are delighted to present a curated selection of their shorts for people to explore and enjoy.
A panel discussion will take place on Tue 5 Jan, 7pm
A viewing guidelines document created by Art With Impact is available here.
Fighter asks the tough, awkward, and infrequent questions about mental health to three generations of firefighters. Home movies and impromptu conversations are woven into interviews in this deeply personal reflection on intergenerational connection, trauma and coping, and how expectations of masculinity in firefighting have an impact on mental health.
Content heads up: discussion of Trauma, PTSD
Director: Meagan Brown
Meagan Brown (she/her) is an aspiring documentary filmmaker with a passion for people-driven stories. Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, she is currently in her fourth year of studies at Ryerson University, in the Film Studies program. Regardless of genre, there are elements of documentary in everything Meagan produces. From films on social justice, to unconventional hobbies, her focus has continually been people-driven stories. Fighter is a continuation of her love for such personal stories, as she turns the camera to her own family. Moving forward, she hopes to continue to push for more engagement in documentary films as a whole.
Factory Talk is an intergenerational conversation about identity, sexuality and masculinity in a rural factory. Through the clanging of metal they make small talk, but as the gripes and grumbles testify to better times, the questions rising on the factory floor are of more than just nostalgia.
Content heads-up: homophobia, toxic masculinity
Director: Lucie Rachel and 1990s Chris
Lucie Rachel (she/her) is a lens-based artist working with still and moving image to explore themes of domesticity, gender and sexuality. Since graduating from DJCAD in 2015 as one of the RSA New Contemporaries, she has directed award winning short films with the Scottish Documentary Institute, Glasgow Film and Channel 4 Random Acts. Her work has screened internationally at over 50 festivals including MoMA’s Doc Fortnight, Iris Prize, and #fivefilms4freedom selected by BFI and British Council. Lucie’s current work continues to focus on intimate subject matter through an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach, moving between artist film and documentary genres. 1990s Chris (he/him) is a queer, working class poet from Hereford, working in the midlands and the south west. Writing primarily for film and audio, Chris has been commissioned by BBC arts for a radio production on bisexuality as well as working on a number of projects for Channel 4’s Random Acts. He has written for the Courtyard Theatre, and is currently the writer at Neoteric Dance Company, recently screening their debut film in the National Army Museum, London. Chris has a history of producing high quality work for arts council funded projects as well as performing across the UK, at venues such as The Tobacco Factories, The Eden Project and the Royal Albert Hall. His work hopes to start conversations around queer identity, masculinity and class.
Under the spotlight, in front of a crowded room, drag performers are given permission to share our most authentic selves with almost certain acceptance. When the show is over and we leave our safe spaces, how do we cope with the realities of a less-than-forgiving world? What faces do we wear? Follow several captivating artists as they navigate the complexities of gender identity, community, and mental health – and learn how they became masters in staging face.
Asterix Media is a collective of artists who aim to challenge dominant narratives and bring marginalized voices to the forefront of new media. With a focus on 2SLGBTQ+ experiences, we use filmmaking, performance art, and other creative avenues as a means of amplifying these stories, reaching audiences around the globe. Asterix Media is based in K’jipuktuk (Halifax). Steph Young (she/her, he/him) is a filmmaker, drag performer, and mental health advocate. Like any good Taurus, he enjoys spending time cuddling his dog, or in the woods photographing wildlife and foraging for wild plants. Jake Ivany (he/him) is an administrative professional by day, a filmmaker by night and a big-ol-queer at heart. With years of experience in the nonprofit world, he loves to help bring stories to life and to the forefront of modern media. Vie Jones (they/them) is a two-spirit artist and performer. The art they make is rooted in community practices, Indigenous epistemologies and ontologies. They don’t know how to have fun without setting things on fire.
Former NHL goalie Kelly Hrudey was at the height of his career when anxiety and depression threatened to stop him from playing the game he had always loved. Kelly talks about the issues he faced, and shares a message of hope and encouragement for others facing mental health challenges.
Director: Paul Day
Writer and producer Paul Day is known for his work on the true crime tv series “The Shocking Truth” and “Sex Lies & Murder”, airing on REELZ Channel. He’s also produced online videos for NHL stars Curtis Joseph and Hockey Night In Canada’s Kelly Hrudey. Editor Dave Alderson has cut sports documentaries, wildlife adventure shows, true crime series and everything in between. His latest series is "Friends Speak" for Reelz Channel. Director of Photography Jesse Desmarais is a behind the scenes technical whiz. He is constantly expanding his skill set, including his camera work with Kelly Hrudey on this important film about athletes and mental health.
Asian Americans are less likely to access services for mental health, despite being one of the largest populations struggling with depression and suicidal ideation. This short film explores a conversation between a mother and her child, with the goal of starting more conversations about this issue.
Director: Gordon Yao
Gordon Yao is a resident physician and filmmaker who strongly believes that visual storytelling is one of the most effective ways of bridging barriers of communication. As an Asian American immigrant himself, Gordon hopes to utilize film as a tool to help immigrants navigate difficult healthcare related topics, including mental health. The topic is especially personal to Yao who, as a medical student, has witnessed fellow med students die by suicide each year that he has been studying. Joanne Mau is a filmmaker and radio host with a passion for creative storytelling, drawn to projects that use multimedia to communicate new ideas, images, and messages that create change. In 2013, Joanne and Gordon co-directed an award winning short film at the Toronto Urban Film Festival (TUFF), receiving the honour of the City of Toronto Award for Emerging Filmmakers! Jennifer Kim is a nurse and pianist whose experiences in the healthcare field gave her an interest in using music to retell patient stories. Henry Shaw stars in the film and is in his final year as a student at McGill University in Montreal. Henry recognizes that everyone’s story is worth exploring and applauds efforts to promote diverse stories expressed in film.
A narrative short about a single Indian mother who does the best she can to take care of her daughter despite her anxiety attacks. It is an urgent reminder to take care of your mental health.
Director: Varundeep Singh Chawla
As a young filmmaker growing up in India, Varundeep’s journey into motion pictures started with filming and editing homemade videos at the age of 15. By 22 his passion for film and expanding his knowledge and experience would take him half way across the world, where he would study every aspect of filmmaking at Humber’s Film and Television Production Program in Toronto, Canada. After opening up the conversation about his own mental health concerns to his family, his aim has been to extend the discussion to his community and break the stigma against mental health. Varundeep hopes to make a positive impact in the world in every project he undertakes.