GMF 2020

GMF 2020: Sustainability and Mental Health

This year’s festival focused on mental health and its impact on communities around the world. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #3 (Good Health and Well Being) aims to stop the spread of disease, give communities access to health services, and increase overall health for all communities; in 2015, Mental Health was also added to the SDGs. According to the World Health Organization, “[W]orld leaders are recognizing the promotion of mental health and well-being, and the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, as health priorities within the global development agenda.”


GMF 2020 Team:

Director: Juan Carlos Rodriguez

Graduate Research Assistant: Shaidah Herron

Committee Members: Stephanie Boulard, Ayda Melika, Amanda Weiss


“Sustainability in Mental Health” Short Film Series, Fall 2019

A film series hosted by graduate student, Shaidah Herron, as an introduction to the GMF 2020. This film series introduced global social topics such as “Groundwork Community Organizations”, “Autism & Innovation”, and “The Criminalization of Mental Illness” with an emphasis on how students can practically apply their own areas of studies and expertise to address global social issues through business development, active engagement, computer science, and innovation.

Organizer: Shaidah Herron

Festival website

Facebook post of the event

“The Cat, The Reverend, and The Slave” (2009), February 3, 2020

What does it mean to live in a reality of your own making? This strange, chilling and compelling documentary explores this question by following three members of “Second Life” who reincarnated themselves into a world created out of fantasy in which they have complete control. Topics touched on video games, second life, sustainability, mental health, and solitude in the contemporary life.

Organizer: Stephanie Boulard

Event gallery

“North Avenue Lounge” interview with Director and Artist Alain Della Negra

Post-screening discussion

Twitter press

“Taste of Cement” (2017), February 21, 2020

Taste of Cement is a cinematic portrayal of exile that documents the effects of war and displacement through the lens of Syrian construction workers rebuilding skyscrapers in Lebanon after its civil war. Post-discussion with director Ziad Kalthoum and Dr. Taha K. Sultan Al Barghathi, a representative of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Organizer: Ayda Melika

Event gallery

Post discussion video with director Ziad Kalthoum

Post discussion video with director Dr. Taha K. Sultan Al Barghathi

“Soheila No.17” (2017), February 28, 2020

A screening and discussion of Soheila No.17, the story of a woman that captures the challenges experienced by many in Tehran who are seeking healthy relationships. The film captures mental and emotional frustrations stemming from socio-cultural barriers to satisfying sexual needs in the Iranian Society.

Organizer: Ayda Melika

Event gallery

Post discussion video with film director Mahmoud Ghaffari

Georgia Film Site press

“Mental/Seishin” (2008), March 9, 2020

Mental is a Japanese documentary that observes the complex world of an outpatient mental health clinic Chorale Okayama. Director Kazuhiro Soda joined via teleconference from New York to discuss his film and philosophy of observational documentary filmmaking.

Organizer: Amanda Weiss

Event gallery

Official site for Mental