Happy Soul Festival 2009

Happy Soul Festival 2009

South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust, is pleased to announce the programme for this year’s Happy Soul Festival.

The award-winning annual festival, which is supported by Film London and the Arts Council of England, is London’s premier celebration of film, arts and music, dedicated to creating awareness of well-being and mental health in Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups. The focus this year is on African, Caribbean, Asian and Korean communities. The Happy Soul Festival, now in its third year, runs from 26 March to 8 April and will provide audiences with an abundance of opportunities to view a diverse range of Asian, Black-British and African-American films which explore well-being issues within these communities.

Comedienne and writer Meera Syal, a patron of the festival says: “Mental Health is a difficult issue to broach and discuss in our communities, and something we often hide in the family, but through honest discussion and through other avenues such as film and music we can open up and explore these sensitive issues together. ”

The two-week festival will comprise of over 20 film screenings and events taking place in Wandsworth, Merton, Sutton, Kingston, Richmond and Bethnal Green.

The European premiere of the award-winning US film Something is Killing Tate by Leon Lozano, will showcase alongside previews of acclaimed films such as Johnny Mad Dog, Kanchivaram, Frozen and special disability-friendly screenings of The Secret Lives of Bees. There will also be an opportunity to see classic British films such as Burning an Illusion, Looking for Langston, and Frantz Fanon: Black Skin White Mask which offer insights into Black British experience, empowerment and well-being.

The exciting line-up of guests and participants for the 2009 festival include; awardwinning Bollywood actress and social activist Shabana Azmi (Fire, City of Joy), Saeed Jaffrey (The Chess Players, A Passage to India), director and acclaimed fine artist Isaac Julien (Looking for Langston), British director Menelik Shabazz (Burning an Illusion), Angela Wynter (EastEnders), and the popular comedian and DJ Richard Blackwood.

One of the highlights of this year’s programme is the Happy Soul Youth Film Awards, which has seen young people from schools and community groups all over south west London making short films which explore mental health awareness from their experience. Each film is judged by a panel of industry professionals and the winner revealed at a special ceremony on the 1 April.

Cary Sawhney, the festival’s director says: “Happy Soul’s core aim is to create a greater awareness of mental health in the minority ethnic communities where these issues are often stigmatised, or people are unaware of the services that we can offer. In our survey of people attending previous Happy Soul festivals over half the respondents said they knew more about mental health as a result of festival events. ”