Recovery film wins international film award

16th September 2013

‘Voices’, a film that uses the arts to explore the concept of recovery from mental distress has been announced as one of the winning entries at the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival (SMHAFF) 2013.

Created by Bob Owtram, a professional film maker who is currently training as a mental health nurse at Edinburgh Napier University, the film is one of 110 submissions to the festival from around the world. On his decision to create the film, Bob said:

“I felt passionately that I wanted to make a film about what recovery means in contemporary mental health practice and realised that making a submission to the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival would be a good way to do this.”

Described by the SMHAFF as artistically rich and emotionally charged, powerful, controversial and astonishingly beautiful, ‘Voices’ explores recovery from mental distress using song, music, poetry, prose and art in the narrative of film. Highlighting that recovery is a process rather than a one-off event and the importance hope in the recovery journey, the film tackles a variety of themes including: definitions of normality and reality, depression and self harm, suicide, bullying and stigma. Talking about the making of the film, Bob commented:

“Originally there were 4 contributors and I was the film maker, but in the course of making the film I decided to become a contributor as well. I now see Voices as my artistic work and myself as the 5th contributor, and I join in the comments about recovery with the other contributors at the end of the film. For me, this expresses a very important concept in my nursing practice – that there should be no power imbalance between people who earn their living from working in mental health, and those who use the services.”

Bob has dedicated ‘Voices’ to SRN’s friend and colleague, Allison Alexander, an inspirational lecturer and Bob’s personal tutor at Edinburgh Napier University. Allison was passionate advocate of mental health recovery and died suddenly after a short illness during the making of the film. You can read an appreciation of Allison, written by SRN Director, Simon Bradstreet, here.

Watch ‘Voices’ by Bob Owtram 

Find out more about this year’s Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival.


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