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Award-winning mental health drama released by Southampton filmmaker Ben Grace

4th January 2019

Following a successful run on the film festival circuit, ‘Antelope’ a short film by Southampton based writer/director Ben Grace has been publically released online.

The award-winning ‘Antelope’ was based on writer/director Ben Grace’s experiences of mental health and stigmas surrounding a mental health diagnosis after being sectioned at Antelope House, a PICU (Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit).

It follows Maddie (Becky Mills) who is released into the care of her brother Rupert (Wesley Budd) and sister-in-law April (Joanna Russel) following a stay in hospital after a failed suicide attempt. This hopeful drama sensitively explores how families can readjust their relationships following a mental health crisis.

Ben Grace worked with local NHS providers to ensure that this film was an accurate representation of mental health services in Southampton. With the permission of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, he filmed the opening scenes inside Antelope House.

Southern Health is proud to support the making of the film ‘Antelope’. As an organisation, we are always striving to contribute towards innovative and creative ways in which we can continue to tackle stigma and discrimination that can be associated with mental illness. Through working with people with lived experience, we’re able to co-produce different materials and media that raises awareness and helps contribute to a community where mental health is more easily spoken about and supported.

Sarah Leonard, Acute Care Matron, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Antelope been screened at numerous film festivals across Europe, winning the Technical Jury Prize of Meglio Matti Che Corti, an international mental health competition co-run by Arci Modena and the Dipartimento di Salute Mentale e Dipendenze Patologiche.

Locally Antelope was screened as part of Ideas For Wellbeing, a piece of mental health research funded by NHS Southampton Clinical Commissioning Group and run by Healthwatch Southampton and Touch Network, as part of Southampton Film Week 2017. In addition, it has twice been screened at Antelope House, and will be used as a training resource by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.

I struggle to find the words to describe what Antelope means to me. It is a real, honest and beautiful portrayal of what it is to be human – with or without a mental health struggle. It treads the fine line of hope and despair that many of us battle with on a daily basis. It has touched my soul deeply.

Debs Carter, Touch Network

Antelope is an insightful and sensitive exploration of the issues that are raised through the onset of a mental health illness and the subsequent journey to recovery.  Healthwatch Southampton screened the film as part of our work around mental health to both raise awareness and promote dialogue around mental health issues.  The film was met with a fantastic response from the audience, and helped to feed a lively debate after the screening.

Rob Kurn, Manager, Healthwatch Southampton

Southampton Film Week (SFW) was thrilled to screen Antelope at the centre of the Ideas for Wellbeing evening for short film and discussion in 2017.  SFW’s mission is to create showcase opportunities for filmmakers and their projects and to bring original, independent and specialised films and events to new audiences. We like to create conversation around our programme and focus this around issues of social, environmental, cultural and political importance.  Screening Antelope fulfilled our purpose on a number of levels and provoked in depth conversation at the Ideas for Wellbeing event as well as an extended dialogue around issues of mental health.  The film is moving, thought-provoking, intelligent and informed.  A well-crafted production by a talented emerging filmmaker.” Susan Beckett, Director City Eye and Southampton Film Week

Throughout its time on the film festival circuit, Antelope has picked up praise for how it sensitively deals with its subject matter.

Taking its name from a Southampton psychiatric intensive care unit, Antelope depicts with sensitivity and humanity the impact of a sudden descent into mental health crisis on a young woman and her family. In doing so, it shines a welcome and much-needed light on the challenges faced by many in our society who live daily with mental health issues.

Kevin Gardner, CEO, Solent Mind

Ben Grace’s raw drama throws a light on a family in the aftermath of a mental breakdown. The short has a real sense of heart as it shows ‘real’ people struggling to reconnect in the worst of circumstances. Joanne Russel compels as the sister-in-law lost between bewilderment and sorrow. We look ahead eagerly to find out what Ben Grace does next.

David Perilli, Dorking Film Festival

Antelope can be watched online at this link – https://www.bengrace.co.uk/short-films/antelope/

Ben Grace Films Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/bengrace87

Ben Grace Films Twitter – https://twitter.com/bengrace87

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