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 in ways that can spark meaningful conversation and bring about real change.

Started in 2016 as part of the NYC Mental Health Film Festival, the Changing Minds Young Filmmaker Competition is designed to enable young people to share uplifting/unique/vital mental health stories through film. To date, we've received hundreds of films from talented young filmmakers around the world.

Changing Minds aims to positively change how we think and talk about mental health issues. For young people, especially, mental health challenges can be difficult to navigate – and too many face these challenges alone, fearful of being misunderstood and marginalized. This can change. This should change. With students, educators, and mental health advocates all working together, we can help young people to feel free, safe, healthy, and hopeful. Above all, we strive to show the lives, successes, hopes, struggles, and beautiful humanity of people with mental health concerns.

The NYC Mental Health Film Festival began in 2005 and was originally planned as a community event for mental health consumers; however, it soon became clear that our little film festival could be something big – an event with broad appeal and impact. So, the festival grew. Over the years, we’ve screened more than 50 films and welcomed more than 5,000 film lovers to our festival. Filmmakers and stars from around the world have shown their films, shared their insights, and participated in lively conversations with our audience. Members of the mental health community have continued to share their reactions and their life experiences, and we’ve all grown together. For more information about the NYC Mental Health Film Festival, visit www.mentalhealthfilmfest.nyc.

For more about about Changing Minds - and to see winning and shortlisted films from 2017 and 2018 - visit www.mentalhealthfilmfest.nyc/changing-minds.

Winning film will be screened at the 2019 NYC Mental Health Film Festival - and, along with shortlisted films, at the 2019 Changing Minds Young Filmmaker 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, etc.) affecting young people

…And at least one of these:

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

We hope most of all that you’ll share a story that is authentic, with courage and conviction.

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

If your film is selected to be screened at the 2019 NYC Mental Health Film Festival, and/or at the 2019 Changing Minds Young Filmmaker Festival, you will be required to send the film in either 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 mental health consumers and advocates.