Voices With Impact 2021
Art With Impact presents…
An online festival for films and ideas around underrepresented topics related to mental health!
June 21-25, 2021
A VIRTUAL FILM PREMIERE AND FESTIVAL OF IDEAS!
Voices With Impact is a year-long project that celebrates mental health stories told by filmmakers with unique perspectives and lived experience.
Filmmakers across the world submit proposals to tell stories about underrepresented narratives related to mental health, and our distinguished jury members select the strongest ideas from the group. Ultimately, ten teams are awarded $5,000 each to support the creation of their short films.
The 2021 topics for five-minute short films are:
- Mental health issues specific to Black people.
- Mental health issues related to immigration experiences.
The world premiere of these films will take place on June 21, 2021 and will be followed by a week-long festival of dialogue and discussion in which our esteemed storytellers will lead interactive, enlightening sessions exploring topics related to mental health in marginalized communities.
Esther & Sai
Over 150 filmmaking teams submitted proposals for this year’s Voices With Impact program, our most competitive cycle ever.
The faces you see here are the people who demonstrated the artistic vision, creative might, and organizational skills to create exceptional short films on a tight budget, and in a short time period.
Led by the filmmakers, the festival features a selection of interactive seminars and engaging discussions, related to the films and the themes we are exploring through this year’s program. If you are interested in learning about these sessions, and participating in these critical conversations, you can register to attend using the links below.
Monday, June 21
Tuesday, June 22
Thursday, June 24
Friday, June 25
June 21, 2021
Black Mental Health: Film Showcase and Filmmaker Q&A The world premiere of short films exploring the topic of Black mental health, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers themselves. Films screened:
- “Still We Thrive” by Campbell X
- “be•long” by Sideah Alladice
- “Wholeness” by Jameelah Nuriddin
- “On the Surface” by Fan Sissoko
- “The Beautiful Black Man” by Calvin Walker
Immigrant Mental Health: Film Showcase and Filmmaker Q&A The world premiere of short films examining the topic of mental health related to immigration experiences, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers themselves. Films screened:
- “Nanay” by Thea Loo
- “Could Have, Should Have” by Yao Liu
- “Rompiendo Olas (Breaking Waves)” by Adàn Àvalos
- “Fish” by Emilie Cheung
- “Esther & Sai” by Rosie Pidcock
- “Frozen Out” by Hao Zhou
June 22, 2021
Dueling Citizenships: Heritage, Cultural Identity, and Mental Health
If mental health is the sum total of the way we see and experience the world, then it is at once personal, familial, and cultural. What happens, then, when the context of your culture shifts? When things that were once obvious “facts” are now questioned “opinions” that are out of sync with the world around you? In this session, we will watch three films that illuminate aspects of mental health in Mexican, Filipinx, and Chinese cultures with filmmakers Thea Loo, Emilie Cheung, and Adàn Àvalos. Together, we will ask questions about how, why, and when heritage, cultural identity, and mental health intersect.
Black BelongingAngela Davis famously said, “We live in a society of an imposed forgetfulness, a society that depends on public amnesia.” This tendency toward amnesia has two natural consequences for Black representation in media. On one hand, in order to encourage the general public to wake up and remember our collective past, Black humans must be regularly retraumatized through the rewatching of shameful episodes from our history including slavery, hate crimes, jim crow, and the prison industrial complex. On the other hand, Black stories are ignored altogether. There is rarely a “middle ground” in which Black characters are fully developed, with depictions of the full range of complexity, beauty, and contradictions that define the human experience. In this session, filmmakers Campbell X, Jameelah Nuriddin, and Sideah Alladice will use their short films as jumping off points to explore and discuss various ways in which Black people are told (explicitly and implicitly) that they don’t belong.
A Foot in Both Worlds: Mental Health Among Queer, Racialized People“How “white” do I need to act in this environment?” “How much of my queer self is safe to show here?” “Which of my identities are “okay” today?” For racialized queer people, the experience of simply existing in a world where “normal” is synoymous with “white and straight” can be both confusing and exhausting. In this session, filmmakers Campbell X and Hao Zhou will discuss the human condition at the intersection of race, sexuality, and mental health.
June 23, 2021
Othered Mothers: Complexities of Raising Children Across CulturesMotherhood has been called the most thankless and important job there is. A mother’s job is to teach, counsel, pay for, feed, clean, entertain, heal, love, and nourish their children. For mothers raising children in a foreign land these roles are made more difficult through language and cultural barriers, generational differences, and conflicting value systems. In this session, filmmakers Fan Sissoko, Ziyao Liu, and Thea Loo will explore the impacts immigrant mothers can have on their children’s mental health.
Mother Tongue: How Language Intersects with Identity and Mental Health“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his mother language that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela
Language, the words we use, and the meanings we attach to them shape our worldviews. They influence our feelings, attitudes and beliefs. With immigration, the concept of a mother language is conceived. A mother tongue is not only a means of communication, but an entity that connects us to family, identity, and culture. It contains echoes of our childhood, and is the carrier of history, traditions, customs, folklore and wisdom from one generation to another. Differences in languages and cultures, and issues of stigma, racism and discrimination have a range of mental health implications on the ways that people view health, illness, and healing. In this session, filmmakers Ziyao Liu, Hao Zhou, and Adán Ávalos explore the intersection of language, identity, and mental health.
Landscapes and Mindscapes: How Physical Environments Can Shape Our Mental HealthThe landscapes around us and our physical environments have a direct impact on our psychological health. Research is beginning to recognize what many of us have always known in our bodies: the healing power of natural environments to reduce stress, help us cope with pain, and ameliorate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Acknowledging the influential power of our natural surroundings, what are the implications for immigrants who are transplanted to foreign landscapes vastly different from those which feel like “home”? Filmmakers Fan Sissoko, Hao Zhou, and Adán Ávalos explore the healing power of nature as well as feelings of belonging and home tied to landscapes.
June 24, 2021
Beyond the Myths: Perceptions of Black Strength, Vulnerability, and Intergenerational TraumaFrom the “magical negro” to the “natural talent” of Black athletes, myths about superhuman strength of Black people has pervaded multiple aspects of the cultural zeitgeist. Historically, these “positive” stereotypes have led to truly atrocious human rights violations including surgery without anaesthesia on Black bodies, higher maternal mortality rates in childbirth, and more. In this session filmmakers Campbell X and Fan Sissoko will explore some of the realities of living in a Black body in the face of a culture that perpetuates stereotypes as truths.
Comfort Food: Finding Nourishment in Our HeritageGrowing up with food that doesn’t conform to Western norms can be a cause of shame and embarrassment for immigrants and their children. At the same time, family recipes and traditional foods are a way for us to connect to our heritage, feelings of home, and cultural communities. There is power in knowing that our ancestors drew strength from these same nourishing dishes – as a way to come together, to feed their loved ones and to survive. Filmmakers Emilie Cheung, Rosie Pidcock, and Thea Loo discuss food, wellness, heritage, and identity in this session.
Swallowing Bitterness: Mental Health Stigma in Chinese and Filipinx CulturesSwallowing bitterness is a Chinese idiom meaning to bear hardship and accept suffering, and is commonly held as a virtue in Chinese communities. Cultural factors (including swallowing bitterness) along with language barriers, stigma and shame, the model minority myth, immigration status, and faith/spirituality, are all possible barriers to AAPIs accessing mental health care, resulting in the lowest help-seeking rate of any ethnic group in America. Emilie Cheung, Thea Loo, Ziyao Liu, and Hao Zhou, filmmakers of Chinese and Filipinx descent, will speak to the mental health stigma that they have witnessed in their own lives and respective communities.
June 25, 2021
________ Enough: Impacts of Racial Discrimination on Self-Worth
The media often depicts instances of overt racism – hate crimes, anti-immigrant violence, racial slurs – which are generally agreed upon as socially unacceptable. But what about the often-socially accepted forms of covert racism? From microaggressions, to racial profiling, to the denial of white privilege–in addition to countless other manifestations of insidious racial discrimination–existing as a racialized person within white supremacy can have significant impacts on one’s sense of self worth and identity, invoking feelings of never quite being “enough”. Filmmakers Emilie Cheung, Rosie Pidcock, and Sideah Alladice explore these themes in their films and in discussion with each other in this session.
Common Threads: Weaving Connections Among BPOC Communities
Although the experiences of racialization among Black people and People of Color differ across racial and ethnic groups, similarities can certainly be found in the ways that institutional racism impacts our lives and sense of well-being. As we search for connection and belonging, filmmakers Thea Loo, Adán Ávalos, Rosie Pidcock, and Sideah Alladice will discuss the potential that BPOC solidarity holds for building supportive, interconnected communities, and tapping into collective strength to tackle the ill effects of structural racism.
Celebrating Black Resilience“With each generation we outsmart our colonizers.
We hacked their code and reprogrammed ourselves to create
The rhythm, food, music, dance that the world moves to in unison.
And still we thrive.”
— From “Still We Thrive” by Campbell X
The atrocities that have been committed against Black people are too many to count. But so, too, are the ways that Black people have responded with strength, creativity, and beauty. In this session, filmmakers Campbell X, Jameelah Nuriddin and producer Angelica Robinson will celebrate and magnify the ways in which Black resilience has manifested itself individually, in families, and in our culture at large.
We relied on a dedicated group of mental health professionals, professional filmmakers, and experts on Black and immigrant culture to review the film proposals and select the teams whose visions would be funded through this project. The passionate humans you see here are the generous and gracious judges who selected the winning filmmakers.
Voices With Impact would not be possible without our sponsors. These community partners share our passion for art, mental health, and equity. They invested in Voices With Impact to support the health of the Black and immigrant communities we serve.