Monday, October 29, 2012

Asylum film premieres at Coquitlam Campus Nov. 15

A psychiatrist escorts a patient to Riverview's Crease Clinic in a staged photo taken in the 1950s by the hospital's photography and film department. 
If most of your knowledge about asylums comes from movies like Shutter Island and The Ward, come get the real story with Consciousness, a short film premiering at Douglas College next month.

Thursday, Nov. 15, 7pm 
Room A1470, Coquitlam Campus 
Everyone welcome 
No registration or RSVP required 

Produced by Douglas Criminology instructor Heidi Currie and Anna Tremere of the Riverview Hospital Historical Society, and directed by local filmmaker lisa g, Consciousness tells the story of Dr. Ralph Arrowsmith, a mid-20th century psychiatrist with a life-long connection to Coquitlam’s Riverview Hospital, a mental institution that opened in 1913 and closed last summer.

Heidi says that while popular impressions about asylums are overblown, asylums could be, in fact, terrifying places.

“People like it to be scary. And it is kind of scary. In this film we have this loving, wonderful, even endearing psychiatrist who tells his story, but underneath, as he describes his years at the hospital, are jolting examples of what sometimes made it a terrifying place.”

Dr. Arrowsmith, who was passionate about the psychiatric movement and deeply committed to his patients, recounts his years of practice with frank discussions of the treatment and perception of the mentally ill at the iconic mental hospital, from the peak of the institutional movement through deinstitutionalization.

“To hear from somebody who spent his professional life at Riverview and became medical director there is fascinating, because the asylum system no longer exists,” says Heidi. "This film gives us insight into the real hospital, that goes beyond stereotypes.”

Featuring archival film and photography combined with re-creation footage, Consciousness is part three of the Riverview Hospital Story Project. Watch the first part, Asylum, and the second part, Bedlam, on Vimeo.

The film runs 25 minutes. A Q+A and refreshments will follow. Heidi is hosting the event, with lisa g, Anna Tremere and Dr. Ralph Arrowsmith in attendance.