Traditionally held in person at Manhattan’s Village East Cinema, the 16th annual presentation of the NYC Mental Health Film Festival (MHFF) will stream live online this year in observance of COVID-19 safety measures.
First established in 2005, MHFF is the oldest and largest film festival of its kind, showcasing inspired films that challenge stigma and spark informed and compassionate conversations about mental health through the use of artistry, humor and honest portrayals of lived experience. Since its inception, MHFF has screened more than 100 films (including several NYC and world premieres) and welcomed over 5,000 audience members
The festival is presented by Community Access, a New York City nonprofit that expands opportunities for people living with mental health concerns to recover from trauma and discrimination through affordable and supportive housing programs, healing-focused services and advocacy.
This December, viewers can tune in to the virtual screenings and live panel conversations across three dates (all in EST):
- Tuesday, December 1 at 6:00 p.m.
- Thursday, December 3 at 6:00 p.m.
- Saturday, December 5 at 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Each of the four screenings will present a different lineup of films, all on the theme of mental health. They include narrative fiction, documentary and animation, as well as poetry and dance on film.
Each screening will be followed by a live, question-and-answer session with the filmmakers. Guest moderators include Health Care Reporter Jennifer Henderson of Crain’s New York Business and Forbes Contributor Graison Dangor.
“Mental health does not need to be so scary or sad,” said Carla Rabinowitz, advocacy coordinator at Community Access and the festival’s founder. “This pandemic has been painful and destabilizing for so many, but there is unity in numbers. Nearly one out of every five Americans experiences mental health concerns at one point in their lives. Our film festival destigmatizes these experiences with some fun movies and conversation. This festival explores the contributions and full humanity of people with mental health concerns in a fun way. It is a must-see and surprisingly joyful!”