SPECIAL PROJECT - Crews film a scene for the film Are You Listening? A screening takes place at the Scott Block on Oct. 12th. photo submitted

Screening of Are You Listening? coming up at the Scott Block

Local film project focuses on mental health

A powerfully compelling local film project probing issues focused on mental health will be screened in the City on Oct. 12th at the Scott Block.

Are You Listening? is described as a film that will provide tools to help people become better listeners in their personal lives – CACHE Productions and Reinholdt Productions are hosting the release party to this Telus-funded film as well.

Screening time is set for 7 p.m. and the cost is a donation. Folks are asked to RSVP by texting Susan Scott at 403-340-9082.

As to the project, the narrative documentary follows Josie, a mental health advocate, as she models listening in her life.

Organizers say they want this film to create confidence in viewers, that they can help those they know who are challenged with mental health issues by listening.

According to the facebook page, the project was filmed last winter and features an Alberta cast and crew as well as Red Deer and area community members and leaders.

The film was inspired by the successful peer-driven Empathy Program that was in Central Alberta schools for a short while, as well as the personal story of the family of a young woman who committed suicide.

Rueben Tschetter of CACHE Productions, who is serving as producer, said that Josie runs into different situations where she models how to listen to people.

“It’s a situational documentary, and then the foundation of the story is community leaders and professionals and mental health advocates talking from their own professional perspectives,” he said. “So it’s a documentary foundation with a narrative element over top of it.”

Tschetter said the issue of youth suicide and the aforementioned Empathy Program were elements that he wanted to use as foundations in one of his films. He eventually brought in Wanda Reinholdt, who lives near Strathmore, to direct the film as well.

“We want this film to contribute to the conversation about mental health in our communities, and in local communities across Canada,” he added. “This first release will be our first step towards achieving that goal.”

Reinholdt said that when she looked at the group of people Tschetter had been in touch for the film, and at what he was wanting to accomplish with the piece, she realized there was indeed a strong story there.

“I also realized we needed to be super careful in how we approached this,” she said, noting how ultimately sensitive the topic is on many levels. “What I realized as I read Rueben’s research, dug into it myself, and started talking to psychiatrists, others in leadership and doctors et cetera, is that there is not a lot of listening going on,” she explained, adding that her own personal story also taps into some issues of neglect. She said that in ways, she could relate to the concept of not being truly seen or listened to as well.

“Once people are talking – that is awesome. But now we need to feel confident in listening. Once I figured that out, I thought it’s really not difficult to know what our narrative part of this story was,” she said. “I was seeing that listening needs to be the key, and that we needed to be super sensitive in how we put this together,” she added.

“I believe I was the person who was meant to direct this piece because I had a similar experience – I had an understanding of it from my experience. They say, write what you know. That’s what I did. I wrote someone listening to people because that is what I have learned to do. It’s what I have learned to be for others and for myself.”

So far, the feedback from those who have caught a preview has been tremendous.

“It’s already doing it’s job with who has seen it already, so we are super excited about that. Those who have seen it have been tremendously moved, and they believe that it’s a very powerful tool.

“This film also cannot live and have an impact without us sharing it.”

Find out more by checking out ‘Are You Listening?’ on facebook.

mark.weber@reddeerexpress.com

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