- Simona Manni – Digital Creativity Labs, University of York, York, United Kingdom
- Prof. Marian F Ursu – Digital Creativity Labs, Dept. of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York, York, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom
- Jonathan Hook – Digital Creativity Labs, Dept. of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York, York, United Kingdom
Abstract: Participatory filmmaking offers opportunities to counterbalance stereotypes about mental health often endorsed by the mainstream media, by involving participants who have a lived experience of mental health problems in production. It is our experience, however, that the linear videos traditionally resulting from such processes can fail to fully accommodate and represent a plurality of participant voices and viewpoints and, as a consequence, may lead to oversimplified accounts of mental health. Interactive film, on the other hand, could open up a space of opportunities for participatory films that allow multiple voices and complex representations to coexist. In this paper, we explore this opportunity by reviewing a linear film produced by five men with mental health problems in 2016 about isolation and recovery. Through a series of creative workshops, the film was deconstructed by its participants, who analysed which additional possibilities of both form and content that could be revealed if the film was transformed into a non-linear interactive film. Our findings reveal several expressive needs that a non-linear interactive film could more easily accommodate and opportunities for making participatory filmmaking truly dialogic by allowing an active exchange with audiences that preserves, rather than streamlines, the tension between collective views and personal accounts.