The Filmhouse will host a Psychiatry Ethics Film Festival from the 26th to 28th of this month. The film festival includes Oscar winning films such as ‘Girl, Interrupted’ featuring Angelina Jolie and Wynona Rider, as well as a set of documentaries that look at the history and procedures of mental health institutions in Britain.
The annual biomedical ethics film festival at the Filmhouse is coming up again and this year it will focus on mental health. It is organised in partnership with the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics and will see a range of panellists discuss ethical issues raised by the films in the series after each screening. The three day festival will show a variety of films, among which is a documentary about manic depression narrated by Stephen Fry, and the critically acclaimed film ‘The Eighth Day’, in which a young man with Down’s syndrome changes a workaholic’s life. In previous years topics have ranged from eugenics and transplantation through to human cloning.
Dr Calum MacKellar from the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics explained: “It’s important [to have a biomedical ethics film festival] because it’s always difficult for the general public to get interested in issues, especially in medical ethics, that seem quite difficult to understand.” He said that one of the SCHB’s jobs is to inform the public about difficult issues, so that they can then make informed decisions about laws and legislations. “So what we’ve tried to do” he said, “is present some of these issues, raise some of the topics that really need discussing through the use of a film and then have panellists catalyze [the issues] and have a discussion with the general public”.
Dr MacKellar also stated that it is not always easy to get the films they want. “With some of the films we are sort of blind, we know what’s in them, but we haven’t seen them because they are so difficult to get”, and sometimes things do not always work out. “Some films we couldn’t show – we had a transplantation film festival some years ago and there was a very good documentary that was showing the transplantation of organs on a child, but a few months after [filming was done] the child had died and the parents did not want this film to be shown ever again”.
With the Filmhouse’s biomedical ethics film festival going into its sixth year, it still remains the only one of its kind in the world.
Click here to go to the Psychiatry Ethics Film Festival