News / Winnipeg

Mental health on the big screen of film festival touring through Winnipeg

The Rendezvous with Madness Festival, which explores mental illness and addiction with Canadian and international films, is coming to Winnipeg Aug. 11-13 for the first time.

Swift Current, a documentary about professional hockey player Sheldon Kennedy’s struggle with sexual abuse, will be screening at Cinematheque later this week.

Contributed

Swift Current, a documentary about professional hockey player Sheldon Kennedy’s struggle with sexual abuse, will be screening at Cinematheque later this week.

Normally talking in theatres is frowned upon, but a film festival touring through Winnipeg wants to help viewers get something off their chests.

The Rendezvous with Madness Festival, which explores mental illness and addiction in Canadian and international films, is coming to Winnipeg’s Cinematheque Aug. 11-13 for the first time as part of its cross-country 25th anniversary tour.

Every film in the festival touches on mental health, addiction and recovery in a distinct way, but they also act as a precursor to a bigger discussion, said festival program director Geoff Pevere.

“The problem with most forms of mental illness, is I think, they can make you feel isolated — they can make you feel alone, Pevere said.

“What we’re doing is providing context using film as the kind of platform, to allow people to speak up and talk about their experience, and perhaps to share their experiences with other people who have had them.”

The festival includes documentary Swift Current, about professional hockey player Sheldon Kennedy’s struggle with sexual abuse and director Karina Garcia Casanova’s autobiographical chronicle of a family struggling with rootlessness and mental illness—Juanicas.

Pevere’s connection to the festival is deeply personal, as he has lived with anxiety and depression, and helped family members searching for diagnosis for mental health issues.  

And while there is a personal connection, “I would also stand back and say my connection is not that different than most people. I believe that if you think you don’t know someone, you’re probably not looking hard enough.”

Panelists for the film festival include Geoff Pevere, Karina Garcia Casanova, Nigel Bart, the founder and director of Artbeat Studio — which provides social supports, a working art studio and gallery space for people in Winnipeg living with mental illness — and Winnipeg mental health worker Stan Rossowski. 

More on Metronews.ca