Taking care of our mental health during the film production process

Events  /  20th July 2024

The film production process is grueling and mentally draining. While audiences see the glitz and glam of the final product, only filmmakers can relate to the intense effort, long hours, and emotional toll required to bring a film to life.

Behind every successful film lies a team grappling with tight deadlines, creative differences, and the relentless pressure to deliver perfection. This environment can take a significant toll on mental health, making it crucial to address and manage the emotional well-being of everyone involved in the filmmaking process.

As we celebrate Mental Health Month, we are grateful for the valuable insights we have gained from various filmmakers we've collaborated with.

We'd like to share some of their recommendations with you:

1. On-Set Therapists for Heavy and Emotional Scenes
Producers can consider having therapists on set during heavy and emotional scenes. Filmmaking often requires actors/documentary film subjects to delve deep into their emotions, sometimes reliving traumatic experiences to deliver an authentic performance.

This process can be mentally exhausting and leave a lasting impact.Having a therapist available can help actors and other film subject’s de-role immediately after intense scenes, providing them with the tools to manage their emotions and maintain their mental health. This practice not only supports actors but also contributes to a healthier, more supportive production environment.

We recently had the pleasure of working with two talented Kenyan actors Malik Lemuel (Kazungu in Mawimbi) and LydiahGitachu (Amina in Ziwa). In a recent interview with VybezRadio, they shared their personal experiences with de-roling and discussed the techniques they use to take care of their mental health post-filming and the importance of this practice in their lives.
2. Mental Health Sessions at Film Festivals

Film festivals play a pivotal role in the industry, offering a platform for networking, showcasing work, and celebrating achievements.

Including mental health sessions within the festival program could create safe spaces for filmmakers to open up about specific challenges they face and unpack their experiences.These sessions could be facilitated by therapists, providing a supportive and structured environment where filmmakers can share experiences, feel less isolated, and receive professional guidance.

Integrating mental health support into festivals and film events can foster communities within the film industry that values well-being as much as artistic achievement.

3. Regular Mental Health Check-Ins for Crew Members

Another important suggestion is to implement regular mental health check-ins for all crew members.The crew behind the camera often faces immense pressure, working long hours in physically and emotionally demanding roles. Regular mental health check-ins with our crew can help identify and address any issues early on.

These sessions could be scheduled during pre-production, throughout the filming process, and post-production. Prioritizing the mental health of the entire crew, should be a priority for us film producers to cultivate a more supportive atmosphere, leading to better overall morale and a more cohesive team.

Every step, even the smallest counts.

By taking proactive steps to support mental health, we can create a more sustainable and compassionate environment for film productions and improve the quality and creativity of the work produced.

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