The Cultural and Global Mental Health Film Initiative

Cultural and Global Mental Health Film Initiative SignThe Cultural and Global Mental Health Film Initiative is a monthly film event presented by the Global and Cultural Mental Health. The goal for the Film Initiative is to host monthly screenings of film-documentaries relating to cultural and global mental health, and to engage in discussion following each film.

Created in 2013, the Cultural and Global Mental Health Film Initiative hopes to engage and interact with members from both the university network and those from the community on topics surrounding cultural and global mental health. It is the hope that these screenings can not only inform individuals but also raise awareness and foster a network that can share, exchange ideas and learn from one another.
This initiative is free and open to the public, provides an opportunity to raise awareness of  issues related to cultural and international/global mental health and connect academics, post-graduate students, health and non-health professionals, journalists and media, policy makers and NGOs interested in these issues.

The Film Initiative hosts screenings generally every fourth Monday of each month from 5:30pm-7:00pm. These screenings are held in Lecture Theatre 1, 207 Bourverie Street. All are welcomed and no RSVP is required.

Click here to read an article about the Cultural and Global Mental Health Film Initiative in The Voice!

For more information or for film/documentary suggestions please contact Dr. Erminia Colucci.  

Past & Future Screenings

Film Title & Flyer 


Screening Dates

For UN Human rights day, the Global and Cultural Mental Unit (Centre for Mental Health, School of Population and Global Health) in collaboration with the Social Equity Institute and representatives from Mind and Mental Illness Fellowship, is organizing a free event open to the public with music, the release of the documentary 'Breaking the chains', presentations and panel discussion dedicated to human rights in mental health. 4.30-9 pm Elizabeth Murdoch Theatre A

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 


The City of Sydney Inner City Film Workshops gave people involved in the Inner City CADRE network the opportunity to learn how to use digital media and film making to tell a story. The two short films: Inpatient and Inpatient: Behind the Scenes show how members agreed to and developed the story from their own collective experience. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014 


Ritualcide in the Cambodian Genocide: Imagination Abduction in a Spirit-based Culture is a film directed by Peg Levine who followed Cambodian men and women to former wedding and birth sites from the Khmer Rouge period (1975-79), filming their return to these locations. She mapped the breakdown of traditional ritual, and gathered evidence of spirit-based fear. Peg uncovered the evidence of the way severe dislocation, induced starvation and KR weddings paved the way for reconstructed communes.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 


Bngvel is the real-life story of Phally, a Cambodian man struggling against the odds to be a good husband and father. Never being able to provide enough for his card-playing wife, he heads to the big city in search of better employment opportunities, only to find the more he earns, the more he spends. Numbing out with beer and girls, he comes to a point of crisis that shakes him up, and he becomes determined to make amends. 

Thursday September 4, 2014 


Collected Thoughts 3 is about Richard McLean. This poignant film documents Richard's art practices, relationships, artistic influences and advocacy activities, providing invaluable insights into his journey with mental illness while highlighting his artistry and fortitude. This film will be presented by Ms Penelope Lee from the Dax Centre.

Monday August 4, 2014 


The Aswang Phenomenon is the first in-depth documentary to trace the history of the aswang myth, discovering where manifestations of the creature come from and how the myth became embedded in Filipino society. This film will be screened as part of the Cultural and Global Mental Health Film Initiative.

Tuesday June 17, 2014 

Finding Our Way Thumbnail

Finding Our Way is a joint project between the Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (MHiMA) consortium and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). The project involved a four-day workshop in which volunteer participants from Victoria, Queensland and South Australia learnt how to create digital short stories and shares the lived experience that helped them to recover, such as music, poetry and paid work. These short films will be screened as part of the Cultural and Global Mental Health Film Initiative of the Centre for Mental Health.  Tuesday April 8, 2014
J Ward – Upon reflection The film documentary J Ward – Upon reflection attempts to portray and navigate the injustice and cruelty contained within the former mental asylum located in Ararat, Victoria which used to house some of Victoria's and Australia's most depraved criminally insane adults.
On one side, this film documentary explores empathy and security; on the other, a rather unfortunate and totally inexplicable injustice which occurred. Ultimately this film outlines that not all are born as fortunate as others, that there is no place for locking people up and throwing away the key without better understanding of the workings of people with mental illness.
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Bird Dancer Thumbnail In what ways do gender and mental illness intersect? In Indonesia, understanding local patriarchal systems in which males dominate many aspects of social life is crucial to untangling the complex webs of stigma, inequality, village politics, poverty, lack of opportunities, and violence that constrain the lives of women affected by mental illness. Based on over a decade of person-centred enthnography, anthropologist Robert Lemelson's films, The Bird Dancer and Standing on the Edge of a Thorn, complement each other in depicting the lived realities of gender and mental illness in the developing world. Wednesday February 12th,2014
Bethel Thumbnail This film documents a self help group with mental disorders, primarily schizophrenia in a small seashore town in Northern Japan in what is known as the Bethel House. These individuals live remarkable lives because they have little use of medical prescriptions yet they are still able to lead an independent life with minimum psychiatric care. Monday November 25th, 2013
Open Dialogue thumbnail In the far north of Finland, a group of innovative family therapists converted the area's traditional mental health system into one that now gets the best statistical results in the world for first-break psychosis.
        They call their approach Open Dialogue. The meet clients in crisis immediately, avoid hospitalization, prefer meeting in homes and perhaps most controversially, they avoid the use of anti psychotic medication wherever possible. All these services are FREE!
Monday October 28th, 2013
As the Mirror Burns-Thumbnail As the Mirror Burns, has the intention of bringing western audiences the perspective of women in Vietnam who were still living in the long shadow of the war. The film allows for sharing perspectives on conflict throughout the experiences of Vietnamese women. The relevance of the film today is that many of the lessons of the war were not learnt and are being repeated in other places. Monday Sept 23, 2013
Out of the Shadow Flyer Thumbnail This film chronicles the experience of Millie, who battles with schizophrenia, and documents her struggle to negotiate the mental health services in search of adequate and appropriate treatment. The story is told by her daughter Susan, from a very personal perspective and the film has been recognised for the insight it gives into the suffering experienced by those who have mental health issues and the effect this has on the people they are close to. August 29th, 2013
Different Voice Thumbnail larger

Different Voice Different Perspective: The art of healing and understanding suicide is a collaborative effort between Mic Eales and Erminia Colucci to look at suicide from an alternative perspective. Cutting to the heart of Mic's work, the video digitally journals his own pilgrimage to comprehend not only his own suicidality, but to initiate a dialogue around the issue of suicide from a creatively expressed lived experience perspective. The film is an attempt to breach those silences about the issue.


This screening is in partnership with the 2013 National Suicide Prevention Conference. 

July 23, 2013 (Tuesday)
Harvie Krumpet Thumbnail. Click to view flyer

Writer-director-animator Adam Elliot is best known for his Oscar-winning short film Harvie Krumpet, and his feature debut Mary and Max, which portrayed depression and Aspergers syndrome with both humour and sensitivity. Screening Elliots early short film trilogy together with Harvie Krumpet invites us to consider the role of optimism, hope and resilience in dealing with lifes challenges and how we relate to people who are considered different.

June 24, 2013
Hidden Pictures Thumbnail-Click to access full flyer Filmmaker and physician Delaney Ruston takes us on her journey to answer the question of how families around the world experience and deal with mental illnesses. Ruston uncovers personal stories in India, China, South Africa, France and the US. What emerges are scenes of profound frustration, moments of true compassion and haunting insights. May 27th, 2013
Kusum Flyer Thumbnail A 14 year old girl suddenly quits eating, isolates herself and experiences difficult fits of rage. Her family tests both Western medicine at first, however eventually settles on traditional Indian spiritual healing. This documentary captures this family's experiences. April 22nd, 2013