Vinfen held our 2018 Annual Moving Images Film Festival, The Dignity of Risk, on Saturday, March 24 at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Hundreds of professionals, people we serve, staff, family members, advocates, self-advocates, and community supporters were in attendance for the event, which presented six films and two panel discussions exploring how the right to take risks, both big and small, is an essential element to self-advocacy, services, recovery, relationships, and the pursuit of one’s dreams.
The morning began with a screening of the feature film A Light Beneath Their Feet, a drama shedding light on the relationship between a mother with bipolar disorder and her teenage daughter, who also serves as her caregiver. It was followed by I Had A Black Dog, an animated short by writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone that tells the story of overcoming the “black dog of depression.” Following the films, a panel discussion led by Vinfen Clinical Services Director Sharon Barry brought together Dartmouth Professor of Psychiatry Joanne Nicholson, PhD; Board Chair of Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change Sophia Johansson; and CBFS Operations Director Evan Schinell, MA, LMHC to discuss the implications of parenting with a psychiatric condition or other disability, and how this relates to self-advocacy.
After lunch, guests were treated to two moving shorts. In the performance of his poem, OCD, Neil Hilborn explored the intersection of love, relationships, and mental illness. Then in Carly’s Café, a café trip was viewed through the eyes of Carly Fleischmann, a teen with non-verbal Autism. Our attendees then had the opportunity to view Wizard Mode, a documentary that offered a candid personal perspective on autism, following Robert as he sought to balance his quest to become a World Pinball Champion with his growing responsibilities.
The last film of the day was Crazy, a documentary that followed Eric, a young adult diagnosed with schizophrenia, as he faced the choice of complying with traditional mental health treatment or following his own path to wellness. Festival attendees had the special opportunity to hear Director Lise Zumwalt introduce Crazy in person, and touch upon how her time with Eric affected her outlook on self-advocacy for people with mental illness.
Finally, as a special treat, Wizard Mode stars Robert and Kathy Gagno made a virtual appearance in the form of an interview with afternoon panel moderator Vinfen Director of Recovery Lisa Berger. You can watch the interview here. The interview led straight into the afternoon’s panel discussion, where Lisa brought together Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Dennis McCrory, MD; Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services Director of Human Rights Rich Santucci; Easter Seals Massachusetts Assistive Technology Specialist Flemmings Beaubrun; and Vinfen Operations Administrator/Office Manager Josette Beaubrun to discuss risk, self-advocacy, the parent-child relationship, and how they relate to young adults as they come of age.
A special thank you to this year’s event sponsors: Ozzy Properties; Shaevel & Krems; MSG Staffing; Parker, Brown, Macaulay, & Sheerin; CityPsych Wellness; and Interior Resources and to our Film Festival Committee and volunteers who made this year’s festival such a success.