Today we talk with three documentary filmmakers and the challenges they face in their industry and the mental health issues that come about from some rather stressful circumstances.
Here are the wonderful people we were privileged to talk to on the podcast:
Marjan Safinia is an award-winning Iranian documentary filmmaker based in LA. Her films examine issues of identity, community and social justice. Until 2018, Marjan was the longest-serving President of the Board of the International Documentary Association.
She is one of five international co-hosts of the pre-eminent documentary community online, The D-Word.
Brooklyn-based Heidi Reinberg has produced documentaries for such august US-based broadcasters as PBS, HBO, Cinemax, LOGO, and arte SWR in Germany and France. Her work, which largely focuses on gray, weighty moral issues, has been supported by the Sundance Doc Fund with the support of Just Films | Ford Foundation; the IDA Enterprise and Pare Lorentz funds; the Hot Docs Forum and the Hot Docs first look Pitch Prize; XTR; the Tribeca Film Institute; the Oath Foundation; Fork Films; the New York State Council on the Arts; the Catapult Film Fund; the Economic Hardship Reporting Project; the Hartley Film Foundation; the Austin Film Society; Picture Motion; the Independent Filmmaker Project; and Women Make Movies.
Rebecca Day is a qualified psychotherapist and freelance documentary producer. She founded Film In Mind in 2018 to advocate for positive mental health in the film industry and has spoken at festivals such as IDFA, Getting Real Documentary Conference and Sheffield DocFest on the issue. She offers consultancies, workshops and therapeutic support to filmmakers working in difficult situations and with vulnerable people.
Making documentary films often comes with emotional and personal risk attached; yet this is something we rarely discuss as we develop our careers and projects, leaving us vulnerable as filmmakers. Whether you are experiencing or filming trauma, juggling difficult work relationships, facing financial instability with creative pressures or are concerned about the well being of the people you film with, our collective mental health should be high on the agenda. Find out how to get help at Film In Mind:
Working in the creative arts such as filmmaking, composing, writing, acting, can be both rewarding and extremely taxing on our mental well-being. Working in isolation (or with really difficult people), tight deadlines, limited budgets, no guarantee of when you will get the next gig, and many other stressors are part of the package for a freelance creative. And it takes a toll on your health and relationships.
I’ve “been there, done that” in the music and film industry enough to know what many creatives go through mentally, financially, and artistically. But I’ve also a professional background in psychology and neuroscience and I’m here to help creatives get on top of the things that would pull us down.