• HVN Rai
    This is the third in our series of online events to help us find ways of connecting with each other to explore voices and visions from different angles during the Covid crisis.

    On Friday 22 May, from 8-9.30pm UK Time (British Summer Time) we will be hosting an online gathering to explore the ways voices, visions and related experiences are portrayed in film. Rai Waddingham, in conversation with Eoin Kelly (HVN), Iseult Twamley (Open Dialogue) and John Richardson (Mindwick), will be sharing a selection of film clips to provoke discussion.

    We’ll look at some of the good, the bad and the quirky ways filmmakers, scriptwriters, actors and the special effects crew try and portray extreme experiences. You’ll be able to contribute your own ideas/responses, connect with others and vote in our HVN Film Event Awards.

    Want to suggest a film? Share your ideas and vote here: http://www.hearing-voices.org/news/film-vote/

    This event is free and open to anyone who wants to come along (whether you hear voices or not). However, registration is needed in order to keep the gathering safe. We will also live stream it via our YouTube channel.

    Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kr7gGqbESlaTVcuFHNNLrQ


    Please read FAQ before registering (especially information about privacy and safety).

    Want to join from another country?

    If you want to join from another country you are welcome. The gathering is taking place at 20:00 BST (British Summer Time). The times, below, have been estimated using an online tool. Please confirm your local time to avoid confusion/disappointment. See: www.thetimezoneconverter.com.

    Friday: 12:00 PDT | 15:00 EDT | 19:00 UTC | 21:00 CEST | 22.00 EEST | 21:00 IDT

    Saturday: 04:00 JST | 05:00 AEST | 07:00 NZST

    The Plan:

    • Welcome – brief welcome from Rai (the host) and panelists
    • Film Clips and discussion – we will play a range of clips from films that depict voice-hearing and related themes in different ways (the good, the bad and the quirky). We’ll use these as jumping off points for discussion. The film industry doesn’t exist in a bubble, so we’re sure to cover some wider issues too.
    • Join In – this event is as interactive as you want it to be. Some of you will want to simply watch and listen (and that’s fine). Others may want to connect with others, share your thoughts or ask questions using the ‘chat’ or ‘Q&A’ functions. Some of you (we hope) might want to switch on your microphones (and maybe even cameras) and pop in to speak with us in person.
    • Voting: Whilst we don’t have the great and the good of Hollywood on speed dial, you can have a say in what you feel are good, bad and interesting/quirky portrayals of voice-hearing and related experiences. We’ll be voting on those shown in the event during the night (and will circulate the results as widely as we can).

    To suggest films, see: www.hearing-voices.org/news/film-vote/
    Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kr7gGqbESlaTVcuFHNNLrQ

    About the panellists

    Rai Waddingham (Chair): Rai is Chair of the National Hearing Voices Network in England, and Vice Chair of ISPS UK. She hears voices, sees visions and has a whole host of other experiences that have led to her being multiply labelled. After spending her early 20s as an inpatient, she is now an Open Dialogue practitioner and PhD student – studying ‘survivor knowledge’.

    Rai would describe herself as almost embarrassingly unable to remember the names of directors, producers and actors and is probably the worst person to team up with in a pub quiz film round. However, beneath this clueless exterior is someone who is passionate about the way extreme experiences are used in film and TV. She is beyond irritated with the lazy and hackneyed ‘the voices made them do it’ scriptwriting, and getting bored by the big reveal …. she is looking for portrayals that surprise her, make her things and (perhaps) even feel unnervingly familiar.

    Eoin Kelly: Eoin is a voice hearer and artist from south east London, and also the newest member of the HVN board of trustees. He studied film production at university, and he has always found the way voices & visions are depicted in film & media to be a complicated issue. He’s particularly interested in how we can recreate such individual and personal experiences in film in a way that can be understood by a wide audience without being reductive.

    Iseult Twamley: Jacqui Dillon introduced me to HVN in 2011, I am forever grateful to her! I work as a psychologist and open dialogue practitioner/trainer, and have spent much of the last decades shrugging off my professional training.

    My life experience of trauma has given me a first hand experience of extreme states. Two of my family members were given diagnoses of schizophrenia and this has been a significant part of my journey. Of recent years I have been learning an indigenous & shamanic way of looking at the world and healing which has been transformative, and influences how I approach realities in my own life. I only watch films with happy endings.

    John Richardson: John is a filmmaker and the founder of Mind Wick, a production company specialising in the subject of mental health. This focus came about via his own personal experience of hospitalisation. John is interested in storytelling and the role it plays in understanding our minds and the world around us. His independent projects include the documentaries ‘Medicating Me’ and ‘Being Jesus’. John is also the founder and host of the podcast series Coffee and Psychosis.


    Is it a peer support space? Whilst we hope the discussion will be beneficial to all – increasing connections and solidarity – it is not a Hearing Voices Group and does not have the same level of safety and confidentiality as a space set up for peer support. Imagine it like a supportive social event attended by people who have a similar interest – but may not know each other.

    I don’t hear voices, but love film. Can I come? Ofcourse – everyone with an interest in the topic is welcome to come and take part. We love having a mix of people – it helps our discussions be that much richer. However, it is important that everyone is aware that many participants will have experience of voices, visions and stigma/discrimination. So, please respect our ground rules.

    Are there any ground rules? As with all HVN events, we follow Intervoice’s community agreement. In short, we ask people to be kind and generous with one another. These are difficult times for so many of us, so extending understanding and compassion to one another is a valuable gift right now. There will be a HVN representative taking part in the chat who will be there if there are any concerns or issues.

    How tech savvy do I need to be? As long as you (or someone with you) has basic skills in operating a computer, a smartphone or a tablet, you should be fine. Using Zoom is no harder than making a phone call or surfing the internet. Check out this guide to attending Zoom ‘Webinar’s for some easy instructions: https://www.cdaa.org.au/sb_cache/events/id/1147/f/Zoom . Just ask if you need any more guidance.

    Who will know that I’m attending? The HVN volunteers crucial to managing the event will have access to the list of participants (which includes the name you registered with). However, other participants will not be able to see that you’re there unless you use the ‘chat’ or ‘Q&A’ function.

    When will others see my name? If you use use the Q&A function to ask or respond to a question, use the chat facility or join us in the Zoom room by audio/video other attendees will see the name that you registered with. This is why we suggest you register only with your first name, or a pseudonym if you have any concerns re privacy. If you have accidentally registered with your full name and wish to change it, please email us and we will do this for you before the event.

    Can I ask take part in person? Whilst your microphone and webcam (if you have one) will be automatically disabled during the event, if you would like to ask a question, make a comment or join in the discussion in person you are welcome to raise your hand and we will invite you in when we can. You can also write a question or comment in the Q&A section of the Zoom room. If you want to ask a question in person (with sound) please make sure you have a microphone enabled on your device.

    Why are you recording it? We know that there will be some people who would love to hear the discussion and feel part of the event – but will not be able to access it (e.g. because of computer access, technology glitches or having a difficult time and struggling to focus). We would like to be able to reach out to these people too, so will be recording it. If you are concerned about the recording, or say something that you wish to be edited out – please let us know. We are happy to remove any of your contributions that you ask us to – and will not store them. We will leave 7 days before making the recording available to others. Hopefully this gives you time to let us know any concerns.

    Is Zoom safe? Since the lockdown, Zoom has become one of the most popular video conferencing packages. When something is popular, on the internet, there are often people who want to hack or ruin it. There have been some cases reported of people entering into Zoom rooms and sharing distressing content with attendees. Since this, Zoom has put in place guidance for security (and some updates) that we are following. Do ask us if you have any questions.

    Any other questions, just email us at or comment on this post.

    Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kr7gGqbESlaTVcuFHNNLrQ
  • Dale
    I think there should be more indie mini-films about the realities of living with psychosis, they could be shown together as a film festival type of online event like the flyer above, this would encourage creative ways of re-telling our experience in order for people to understand what it is, and to lessen the stigma of being a sufferer.
    When would the next event take place and how to get involved.
  • HVN Rai
    That sounds like a great idea, Dale - there have been some awesome film festivals around psychosis and other forms of distress ... but usually in person. An online event would be great (and there are an increasing number of mini films available).

    Hmmm .... maybe that's something HVN could plan for the future (it'd take a bit of prep to get it going .... but it sounds possible). I'll run it by the rest of the board.

    I think the next event is going to show clips of stuff that's been on TV around voices, visions and other unusual experiences. I'm needing a little extra time to recuperate from the last one as it was lots of work ... but it'll probably be in a couple of weeks.

    I'll post more details on here when I know more, so you can sign up and suggest TV clips/series/characters for us to look at.

    As the the bigger event ... we'll probably need a bit of assistance in getting it ready etc, so we may ask for people to support us in it (again, I'll post on here when there's something more concrete).

    With warmth


    PS. What kind of representation would you like to see of voices/visions/psychosis? In an ideal world, what do you think would help others understand more? or what parts of the experience aren't easy to talk about and would really benefit from being featured in a short film?
  • Dale
    Hi Rai,

    Thank you for your response and brilliant question, I think the example you have does an excellent job of ticking a few boxes, one it's a personnel testimony based upon someone's experiences of psychosis, two it's in the style of a indie short as there are lots of good examples upon YouTube or Vimeo, which to draw influence from, though in an ideal world members or willing participants would with the help of known NGO participation make and produce small vignette film's that go where ever the participants want to go, some could be just an interview some could use more imagery, it would be an open event like that, ( I hope you can get what I mean).

    Also, you could include the current social distancing measures within the event by going online, there could be a Skype discussion after to accompany the showing of short films and what they mean.

    In regards to your questions, I think the tricky parts for me would be several, one the actual daily experiences of being a voice hearer, as most people don't have this normality and view it as evil, scary or drug-induced. Next would be the environmental aspects of being subject to mind games, and dodgy surveillance measures whether by the service provider or by malicious rumor-mongering (Snapchat)
    I suppose it would be the gaslighting or the actual voices themselves, though you would have a field day using creative methods to explain it to people and other like-minded sufferers.
    One idea could be to use a radio host to be the part of someone's voice and have a person receiving the messages, you could move from one scene to the next not realizing that they are the same person until the ending.
    Something like this..
  • HVN Rai

    Yeah, I love Being Jesus because John, the guys who created it, knew the person featured and has his own experiences of extreme states ... so they created something cool together. That sense of collaboration and shared experience feels essential ... as it's so easy for documentaries to be a bit objectifying rather than expressive.

    It would be a dream to have the resources to do a film project like that, working collaboratively with a diverse bunch of people to help them express the experiences they want to express however they want to express them.

    I think the after-screening discussion would be essential - to help people really engage with it, rather than just see it as entertainment. And I've found at similar events that film is a good way of engaging those without the experience to be more curious and less afraid of asking stuff.

    That sense of normality is a challenging one to convey .... but so important. My life is not particularly interesting to see from the outside. Yes, I hear lots of things and have other sensory experiences ... but someone filming me wouldn't notice 99% of it ... I'm no scarier, more genius-like or funnier than anyone else.

    I love the idea of the radio host ... especially as it leaves the question open as to whether the host is 'real' (i use that term loosely as just because others can't hear it doesn't make it not real). That can be a good way of getting people to engage with the confusingness of making sense of what's going on.

    Not enough resources in HVN at the moment to make films ... but we can look around for what's out there :)
  • Dale
    O.K, Thanks I am glad you got the point and even like the vision.

    A few years ago I attended a couple of Mental Health initiative's one was Held at CoolTan Art and combined with Art-Angel and a professional Film maker, the aim was for us to design an App, the group was hugely creative and inspiring as we covered a lot of interconnected subjects like, places and spaces are not the same thing, schizo-cartography, and the meaning of,or what actually is technology. We also did a App design Brief and added the Vincent Van gouge interactive Walk, with the add of the app game.
    Next, I participated within the Dragon Cafe, project twined with the Albany Drama Team, where upon a play was performed about the lost in translation between a voice hearer and the Psychiatrist.
    A discussion followed it where we were able to openly discuss our thoughts. As well as a drama class in the form of therapy session,

    I think if you adopted Co-Production and worked with theses organizations doors would open as connection would be made. Remember it's going that way anyway though yes to start with use other relevant shorts, interviews, prose.photography.

    Just thought I'd voice my idea.
  • Dale
    This is the type of thing that may suit future Film Network events, as they are of a indie modern style and could be psychological & visibly channeling, with the subject matter.

    Please take a look and tell me what you think.
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