Voices From Within receives city arts grants

Meridian Hill Pictures is pleased to announce two recent grant awards from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities and the Humanities Council of Washington DC, to support our new participatory documentary film, Voices from Within.

Specifically, the film received a $10,000 Community Arts grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH), and a $5,000 grant from the Humanities Council of Washington, DC.

The DCCAH Community Arts grant is a new arts funding initiative launched in late 2012 for DC artists and art organizations. The Community Arts Grant was designed to provide support for small-scale projects that promote arts and humanities activities to a diverse range of communities in the District. The DCCAH grant will support new participatory video workshops with the project participants at Saint Elizabeths this spring and post-production on the film this summer.

Grantmaking from the Humanities Council of Washington DC provides support for community projects that enrich the lives of DC residents through the humanities disciplines, with a specific focus on encouraging creativity and open interpretation. The Humanities Council grant will support a local outreach and engagement in the fall to share the film in community-based settings.

Voices from Within is a dynamic arts and healing project combining participatory video workshops with Saint Elizabeths Mental Hospital residents; a documentary film sharing stories of personal recovery from mental illness; and a comprehensive outreach and engagement campaign providing a platform for individuals with mental illness to use personal storytelling as a vehicle for connecting to the wider DC community.

For the first time in the history of Saint Elizabeths Hospital, cameras were allowed inside and placed directly into the hands of the residents for the original Video Diaries Project, turning the interview tables and transforming the project participants from examined to examiner.  Through the production of video portraits, the participating men allowed viewers to bear witness to their daily struggles with their illness, their isolation, and their seemingly impossible step-by-step process to reintegrate into society.

Upon the completion of the film, we will launch an outreach and engagement campaign in the fall including a variety of community screenings and structured dialogue sessions, serving mental health care providers, educators, caregivers and family members of those affected.

Voices from Within is produced by Video Diary Productions and a co-production with Meridian Hill Pictures. Voices from Within is directed and executive produced by Ellie Walton and Joy Haynes. Producers are Brandon Kramer & Lance Kramer.

For more information on the film, to watch the trailer and learn how to support the project, visit the project on the Meridian Hill Pictures website and on the Video Diary Production LLC website.

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