Gif of young Leonardo DiCaprio crying

Sad Girl Cinema is an ongoing DIY documentary film project exploring mental health narratives in screen culture created by artist Claire Biddles and writer Bethany Rose Lamont and designed by Maggie Webster.

Sorted into three themes: therapy on screen, the mental health ward on screen and ‘tortured geniuses and tragic muses’ on screen, we navigate our way through a whole bunch of pop cultural clichés!

Alongside these themed chapters, the documentary also features three first person chapters. These focus on the nuances of engaging with mental health screen representation for those of us who are actually struggling with mental health issues ourselves. The first-person chapters are as follows:

  • ‘I’m too poor to be one of the Girlfriends’: Imade Nibokun on therapy and classism in the tv series ‘Girlfriends’ (2000-2008)
  • ‘Queer in the Psych Ward’: Lisa Ruiz on medical homophobia in American Horror Story: Asylum (2012)
  • ‘Hair Pulling and the Hollywood Imagination’: Izzy Leslie on representing trichotillomania in the film ‘Young Adult’ (2011)

Inspired by the work of Charlie Lyne (‘Fear Itself’, ‘Copycat’ and ‘Beyond Clueless’), Ross Sutherland (‘Stand by For Tape Back Up’), Vitto Russo’s ‘The Celluloid Closet’ we’re interested in combining archival film footage with first person reflections to provide a bridge between the imagined fairy tales of tortured geniuses, sad white girls and creepy serial killers with the shit we actually have to deal with every day. Rooted in self-advocacy we explore the intersecting oppressions in the cinematic imagination of mental illness.

Our first two first-person chapters premiered at Scottish International Queer Festival in September 2017, reviews of our event can be read here and here.

We encourage audience participation and talk back to the screen.

We also have a lot of feelings about Leonardo DiCaprio.

You can also connect with us on Twitter and Tumblr and find out more about us over at Not So Popular.

Existing SGC collabs have included SQIFF, Berlin Film Festival and Bipolar UK, so please let us know you’d like us to work together!