January is always a tough month, but with surging COVID cases, school closures, and lockdown, mental health is even more of a priority this year—as it rightly should be. Hot Docs along with Bell Let’s Talk and Workman Arts have come together again to bring Canadians a free mental health series to broaden discourse and fight stigma. 

“This important series has become an annual platform to explore vital topics through recent films with growing audiences to expand knowledge around mental health and addictions issues in the lead up to and on Bell Let’s Talk Day,” says Kelly Straughan, Executive Artistic Director of Workman Arts. 

The all-Canadian film lineup includes the national premiere of Connecting the Dots (D: Noemi Weis), Rat Park (D: Shawney Cohen) and Les Mondes de Vincent (The Worlds of Vincent) (D: Rozenn Potin). All films will be available to stream for free from January 4 to 28 on Hot Docs at Home at hotdocscinema.ca.

Mental illness and addiction affect every family—no one is immune. The fascinating and hard-hitting docs selected for this impactful series zoom in on several mental health issues from various perspectives. Undoubtedly, they will strike a chord with many and spark thoughtful and necessary discussion.

More on each film….

D: Noemi Weis | Canada | 2020 | 91 mins
A poignant look at youth mental health from a global perspective, this raw and intimate film showcases young voices breaking barriers surrounding mental illness and young people. From Edmonton and New York to Nigeria and Australia, young people talk openly about their experiences in a way you have never seen or heard before. Through their heartfelt personal stories and character-driven storytelling, Connecting the Dots brings youth mental health to the surface, while shedding light on the inspiring ways we can break through barriers and take action.

Connecting the Dots is produced in association with Indiecan Entertainment, Filmblanc, Telus Fund, Ontario Creates, TV5, Graham Boeckh Foundation, Echo Foundation and the Government of Canada.

D: Shawney Cohen | Canada | 2019 | 92 mins
Using a forgotten Canadian psychological experiment from the 1970s involving rats and heroin as a metaphor, Rat Park examines the complex issue of drug laws and addiction in the USA, Philippines and Portugal, exploring why the problem may not be about the drugs themselves, but the environments we live in.

D: Rozenn Potin | Canada | 2015 | 80 mins
An intimate film that brings us into the real and fantasy worlds of the filmmaker’s brother, Vincent, who has been living with schizophrenia for 16 years. Now 36, Vincent is a charismatic, funny and endearing character who we follow from his careless childhood into his more complex adult years. Punctuated with archival images, this film brilliantly captures the life of a loved one before and after this illness, while offering a glimpse into the still mysterious world of schizophrenia.

More info on the Hot Docs site