Led by the the Mental Health Foundation, the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival is one of the world’s largest social justice festivals.

With annual attendances of over 25,000 at more than 300 events staged throughout Scotland, including film, performing arts, literature, music and visual arts, the festival aims to support the arts and to challenge preconceived ideas about mental health.

Now in its 13th year, the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival showcases its official selections and award winners to diverse audiences, and calls on all filmmakers, established or aspiring, to submit films addressing mental health in various ways.


All submitted films are eligible to win an International Film Award. Winning films will be honoured at our International Film Awards ceremony in May 2019.


1. All submitted work must be original, and the submitter must either have festival rights to the film or permission to submit it.

2. Please ensure that non-English language films have English language subtitles.

3. Films previously submitted to the festival will not be considered.

4. Only films completed after 1st January 2016 are eligible.

5. There is a submission fee of $7 USD - this fee helps us to cover the cost of running the competition and the festival. The festival is led by the Mental Health Foundation, a registered charity in the UK (www.mentalhealth.org.uk). If you cannot cover the cost of the entry fee, please contact us.


1. The International Film Awards jury will be comprised of people with backgrounds in film, in mental health, or both. The decisions of the jury are final. Unfortunately we are unable to provide feedback on films which have not been selected.

2. The winning films selected by the jury will be screened during the festival alongside Official Selection films, and will be honoured at the International Film Awards ceremony.

3. For all films to be shown, the festival will be in contact regarding a high quality screening copy. We cannot pay for screening copy costs or shipping to the festival, but we will cover return.


1. All films submitted must have full festival clearance, including written consent/contracts where appropriate for individuals identifiable within the film (paid or unpaid), full musical clearance and third party clearance. It is also the responsibility of the person submitting the film to ensure that any necessary agreements are in place and valid prior to submission. By submitting a film, the person doing so guarantees that all required permissions have been obtained.

2. We may utilise clips of the films to be screened in order to publicise the festival and related events. Submission of an entry form is considered granting the festival permission to do so.

3. High resolution still images will be requested for all winning films.

Overall Rating
  • Katrina Brown

    Powerful, quality films, a discerning and warm audience, along with great, welcoming organisation make for a thoroughly worthwhile and ennervating filmmaker experience. Would definitely submit and attend again.

    June 2018
  • Lise Zumwalt

    By far the BEST mental health arts festival we were accepted to -- the scope of the festival is outstanding, the quality of the work is very high.
    SMHAF could not have been more welcoming and hospitable and I loved meeting the other filmmakers, a very talented and very fun group. If you are selected you are lucky - and GO. Great experience.

    May 2018
  • Stephanie Zari

    We were so honoured to have our short drama Being Keegan not only in Official Selection, but award Best Short Drama of the festival. THANK YOU SMHAF so much for putting on such a wonderful event and we were delighted to have participated and have the film shown at such a powerful platform, let alone awarded. Being recongnized for our films themes meant so much and we hope the film and the festiival continues to grow and help debunk the stigma of Mental Heather through the arts!

    May 2018
  • Nicholas Connor

    A brilliant festival that has some of the best communication I have seen on the circuit!

    November 2017
  • Genevieve Clay-Smith

    An amazing experience, an amazing festival - totally inspired by all the films and filmmakers. Incredible hospitality too!

    November 2017