Even if there were twice as many real mental health stories being told, it still wouldn’t be enough. That’s why we – Community Access – launched Changing Minds, a unique storytelling initiative that helps young people (ages 15 to 25) share mental health stories with other young people in ways that can spark meaningful conversation and bring about real change.

Originally conceived in 2016 as a young filmmaker competition – part of the NYC Mental Health Film Festival – Changing Minds is now its own festival as well.

Changing Minds empowers young people to share uplifting/unique/ vital mental health stories through film. In the process, Changing Minds aims to change how we think and talk about mental health issues. To date, we've received thousands of films from young filmmakers around the world.

For young people, especially, mental health challenges can be difficult to navigate – and too many face these challenges alone, fearful of being misunderstood. This can change, and it should change. With students, educators, and mental health advocates all working together, we can help young people to feel free, safe, healthy, and hopeful.
For more about Changing Minds – and to see winning and shortlisted films from 2017, 2018, and 2019 – visit www.mentalhealthfilmfest.nyc/changing-minds.

For more information about the NYC Mental Health Film Festival, visit www.mentalhealthfilmfest.nyc.

Winning film and select shortlisted films will be screened at the 2021 Changing Minds Young Filmmaker Festival, and the winning film will be screened at the 2021 NYC Mental Health Film Festival. Cash prizes for winning film and up to nine honorary mentions.

Our competition is for filmmakers aged between 15 and 25. To qualify, films must be 10 minutes or shorter – and check this box:

□ Focus on mental health issues (depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, OCD, BPD, labels, etc.) affecting young people

…And at least one of these:

□ Convey a message of hope
□ Promote social justice + human rights
□ Combat stereotypes, untruths, and half-truths
□ Inspire conversation + new ways of thinking

More Details:

We accept documentaries, features, and shorts. There is no entry fee.

If your film is selected to be screened at the 2020 NYC Mental Health Film Festival, and/or at the 2020 Changing Minds Young Filmmaker Festival, you will be required to send the film in either MP4, Blu-ray, or Apple ProRes format (NTSC Region 1 compatible) within two weeks of notification.

If selected, your film may be shared online and used for educational purposes.

Entries will be considered by festival organizers, including people living with mental health concerns and mental health advocates.

Overall Rating
  • Marwah Ghazi

    It was an honour to have my film selected and screened at this amazing festival. The organizers are kind, and have such beautiful souls. I loved the conversations and everyone i met! I can't thank you enough. The communication was incredible! A highly recommended festival!

    March 2020
  • Breanna Ching

    AMAZING EVENT! Thank you for having me.
    - film festival finalist

    January 2020