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$75k Awarded to Grant Winners For Short Films On Mental Health

A photo of a young girl captured during the film Voices With Impact - Are You Hungry by Rachel Rose and Belen Garcia.

Voices With Impact - Are You Hungry by Rachel Rose & Belen Garcia

A photo of a man on a horse from the film Beyond The Soil by Jaime Jacobsen & Eric Forbes.

Voices With Impact - Beyond The Soil by Jaime Jacobsen & Eric Forbes

A photo of a person walking across a frozen landscape captured during the film Frozen Out by Hao Zhou.

Voices With Impact - Frozen Out by Hao Zhou

Voices With Impact awards 10 filmmaking teams $7.5k to create transformative 5-minute films

I am delighted to announce this year's VWI filmmaking teams who are poised to create films that will enrich the lives of viewers for many years to come.”
— Cary McQueen, founder and executive director
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, February 6, 2024 / -- Art With Impact has awarded 10 filmmaking teams $7.5k each for the sixth consecutive year to create 5-minute films on specific underrepresented mental health topics through its Voices With Impact (VWI) initiative. This year's two topics are 1) Serious Mental Illness and 2) Cliques & Echo Chambers. The Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission, the American Psychiatric Association Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts support the grant and festival.

"I am delighted to announce this year's VWI filmmaking teams who are poised to create films that will enrich the lives of viewers for many years to come," said Cary McQueen, founder and executive director.

The VWI program is both a filmmaking grant and a film festival. The VWI team is committed to partnering with selected filmmakers to ensure they can create their best work. In addition to ongoing story consulting, the VWI team connects selected filmmakers with industry mentors to foster their creativity and push their artistry to the next level, as well as mental health mentors who help to ensure that portrayals are responsible and representative.

All 10 films will premiere at the Voices With Impact festival in June 2024 through a series of in-person and online events. The films will premiere in the US in San Francisco, CA on June 6, and in Canada in Vancouver, B.C. on June 27. The festival will act as a hub connecting like-minded filmmakers, artists, mental health professionals, and advocates. Sessions will facilitate transformative conversations around this year's topics through discussions between filmmakers, mental health professionals, and audience members.

For the first time this year, Voices With Impact will include a film competition alongside the yearly production grant and festival. The Serious Mental Illness Short Film competition is open and accepting submissions until Midnight PTS on March 17, 2024. The Sidney R. Baer Jr. Foundation supports the competition and asks filmmakers to submit short films on Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, or Bipolar disorder. Each of the three winning filmmakers will receive a cash prize of $2000. The winners will be announced at the festival in June 2024.

The films selected for this year's Voices With Impact program are:

Meditations Between Us
An experimental animation depicting the experience of a romantic relationship with someone living with Schizophrenia. Directed by Ashleigh Valliancourt (Animation, Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Fat Hen
A short documentary exploring the mental health benefits of gardening for an artist with Schizophrenia. Directed by Leanne Dimant (Documentary, Wales, United Kingdom)

3200 Degrees Fahrenheit
A drama based on the lived experience of two brothers exploring Serious Mental Illness and agency. Nabil must decide whether to save Kareem's life against his will. Directed by Gavin Seal (Narrative Live Action, Montreal, QC, Canada)

A short drama sharing a child's perspective of growing up with a parent experiencing severe mental illness. Directed by Aiden Keltner (Narrative Live Action, San Diego, CA, USA)

The Four Noble Truths
A documentary follows a 20-year-old gay Cambodian man living with Schizophrenia in the American South. Directed by Asha Alaji-Sharif (Documentary, Atlanta, GA, USA)

In addition, the selection jury awarded the remaining grants to the following short films on Cliques and Echo Chambers. These films will shed light on the disconnections in society and the profound effect this can have on mental health.

Plant People
A quirky, off-beat drama about loneliness and disconnection in a world where everyone but Phoebe has a plant for a head. Directed by Jason Eksuzian (Narrative Live Action, Berkshire County, MA., USA)

A comedy about a college student trying to find the right club to join. Clubbing explores the cliques and echo chambers of college life. Directed by Eric Forbes and Zach Myers. (Live Narrative Action, Fort Collins, USA)

A stop motion animation exploring sexuality, its relationship to technology, the pressure that it creates, and depersonalization. Directed by David McShane (Animation, London, UK)

All Meat Diet
A drama examining the effects and consequences of hyper-masculine online content on male body image. Directed by Hae Ji Cho & Kevin Alcántar (Narrative Live Action, Los Angeles, USA)

An animated comedy highlighting the mental health impacts of social media. Directed by Brendan Hicks (Animation, Canada) Frozen Out By Hao Zhou (VWI 2021)

For more information, visit To coordinate an interview with Voices With Impact or one of the filmmakers, please contact Chris Hyde.

About Voices With Impact
Voices With Impact is a global film production grant and festival that elevates underrepresented mental health narratives. The grant program annually funds ten filmmakers to create influential short films on various mental health topics. California's Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission is the anchor funder. Films premiere at a festival in June of each year, creating space for dialogue that fosters a deep inquiry into mental health issues.

About Art With Impact
Art With Impact is a nonprofit organization that leverages short films to redefine how young people perceive, discuss, and prioritize their mental health. Our mission is to promote mental wellness by creating space for young people to learn and connect through art and media.

Chris Hyde
Voices With Impact
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