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Posts from the ‘Events’ Category

Films at Rendezvous with Madness touch a nerve and get to the heart


By Elizabeth Scott, Toronto freelance writer and editor

This year’s Rendezvous with Madness film festival is making its mark in Toronto once again. For 23 years, this outstanding Canadian event has communicated with heart the idea of madness and addictions through the art of film.

Last year my son, Byron, and I were honoured to take part in one of the discussion panels, after the motion picture Gabriel screened. The film looked at the experience of a young man, played by Rory Culkin, as he and his family were coming to grips with the impact of his mental illness on their relationships, with each other, extended family and friends.

Our family was in the audience that night, brother Ben, stepdad David, and Byron’s fiancé Eireann. With this year’s RWM in full swing, we were reminded of public perceptions and the barriers to understanding that exist. So we decided to sit down together and talk about how artistic events, like RWM, are working to increase general insight into the impact mental illness has, on families and in the culture.

Here are a few snippets from our conversation: Read more

Movies and Madness

RWM-Juanicas-blog2By Geoff Pevere, Teacher, Critic, Broadcaster, Author, and Program Director of the 2015 Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival

To be perfectly honest, connecting movies and madness has never been much of a stretch for me. Judging by an oft-repeated anecdote wherein I, barely aged five, shifted seats several times in order to confront the spectacle from every possible angle, I went crazy for the medium almost from the first moment my father took me to see 101 Dalmations in 1962.

In that sense, the opportunity handed me this year to act as Program Director of the 23rd annual Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival is an organic (and very lucky) extension of my own issues: I’ve never approached the movies with anything less than an all-consuming personal obsession, and the particular allure movies about unhinging minds have held for me now makes perfect sense. I think madness is at the core of what movies do best, and it was only a matter of time before they got their due for doing something the world has only recently begun to catch up with: looking into the mirror of our own mental health experiences and confronting the distortions of our own perceptions. Read more

Seeing Being Scene


Steven Lewis stands in front of his piece, “Waiting” at the Being Scene art exhibit

With thanks to Steven Lewis, Visual Artist in Residence at Workman Arts

Variety. Passion. Honesty.

Steven Lewis uses these three simple, succinct words to describe the latest artwork featured at Workman Arts’ Being Scene – an annual juried exhibit that is currently on display at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. Steven currently serves as the Visual Artist in Residence at the multidisciplinary art and mental health organization, of which he’s been a member for four years. Read more

All Eyes on Mental Health & Hip Hop


By Akeem Sule and Becky Inkster, Co-Founders of HIP HOP PSYCH, Cambridge, U.K.

Hip-hop and mental health have a lot more in common than meets the eye. Since the genre’s conception in the early 1970s, hip-hop artists have delivered loud-and-clear messages of personal struggles and strengths, as clearly captured in the recent film Straight Outta Compton. Hip-hop culture embraces self-expression and recognizes the daily trials and tribulations that many people face – the pressures that challenge their state of mind. Read more

If You Ask Me


By Olivia Heffernan, NYAC Peer Facilitator

I don’t know about you, but when I disclose that I have mental illness to people that aren’t in the mental health field, I receive a few different reactions. Granted, most people keep their words neutral, but their faces and attitudes give it away. Read more