2023 Regional Judging - Through the Lens of Culture

  • Dear Judge,

    We encourage you to seek personal support if you become troubled by the content of this category. If you experience an emotional crisis, there are people available to help you at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

    The entry you are judging is a 60-second film in the Through the Lens of Culture category. This category includes both mental health and suicide prevention films.

    At any point if you are experiencing technical difficulties with the website, or have questions regarding the category description, please contact one of our team members.

    Shanti - shanti@directingchange.org (619.786.5622)
    Devin - devin@directingchange.org (858.324.4846)
    Emma - emma@directingchange.org (707.394.8708)

    In advance, we appreciate your time.

  • Title

    Perfect Facade, Hidden Struggles



    Description from the submitter

    Throughout many Asian cultures, the topic of mental health is often considered taboo. Long-practiced traditions and cultural beliefs have led to the idea that mental illnesses are a sign of personal weakness or bad luck; karma inflicted by ancestral spirits and supernatural beings. As a result, speaking up for mental illnesses is considered inappropriate and disgraceful, and the stigma around mental health has remained indomitable for generations. Our film aims to represent the many perspectives around mental health and suicide in the AAPI community: the pain a tiger mom feels as a result of intergenerational trauma, the struggles of advocating for mental health in an environment unreceptive to it, and the hidden pain of an overachiever. Specifically, we follow the story of 2 sisters: a model older sibling, and her less-favored sister. As the “perfect” child, the older sister has always put on an outward appearance of tranquility, independence, and strength. Underneath the display, however, she secretly struggles to keep up with her mother’s expectations, more fearful of her mother’s disappointment than her own wellbeing. In a way, this symbolizes the harm that a model minority myths inflicts on the AAPI community, silencing our beliefs and struggles. The younger sister is able to recognize her sister’s warning signs, even if they are well-hidden, and desperately tries to bring the issue up with a mother who is hesitant to talk. The film ends on a hopeful note when the mother makes the decision to search for suicide prevention resources and talk to her older daughter in spite of all the stereotypes and stigmas she has learned to hold. We aim to show the actions that can and should happen when suicide prevention and mental health is discussed in the AAPI community: looking past stereotypes and stigmas, and instead, realizing that the well-veiled struggles of our loved ones deserve and need to be addressed.

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Messaging Scoring Measures

  • 2. Does the film include captioning?

    Films are encouraged to be submitted in languages other than English, but all films in this category are required to include captioning, even if the film is in English.
    Mark “yes” if the film meets one of these criteria:
    • The film is in English and includes captioning in English
    • The film is in a language other than English and includes captioning in English
  • 3. How well does the film explore suicide prevention or mental health through the lens of a particular culture?

    There are many different definitions for culture, but here is the one we are going to use for the purposes of providing direction to our film makers: Culture is the characteristics and perspectives of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, ethnicity, nationality, religion, cuisine, social habits, sexual orientation, gender identity, a shared experience, music, arts and more. And when it comes to mental health and suicide prevention culture can influence how and if we talk about these topics, whether or not we seek help, what kind of help and from whom.

    Films should send a positive message about the importance of supporting others and how people can play a vital role in ensuring that all young people regardless of their culture, or group association, get the help they need.

    This can be done in many different ways that were provided in the submission criteria. (Note that it does not have to be one of the messages below):

    • The film explores how encouraging people to seek help might look different depending on our culture and the way we were brought up.
    • The film explores generational differences: The way we think about and talk about mental health or suicide can be influenced by generational differences.
    • The film helps demonstrate that learning and talking about mental health or suicide prevention is okay and these are both key strategies to prevent suicide.
    • The film demonstrates how cultural groups can provide support and strength when dealing with mental health challenges or an emotional crisis.
  • Please enter a number from 0 to 20.
  • 4. Does the film do a good job of connecting culture to suicide prevention, mental health, mental illness or help seeking? (up to 15 points)

    A film might do a wonderful job in presenting information about or from the perspective of a particular culture, but does it also make a connection to how this influences suicide prevention, mental health or help seeking?

  • Please enter a number from 0 to 15.
  • 5. Does the film communicate a message that inspires the viewer to take action?

    Think of it this way: After someone watches this film what are they asked to do? Will the film inspire them to feel, act or think differently? We would like the films to be action oriented and encourage change and support. For example, where to get help, how to offer support to someone or how to get involved or learn more information. We have asked our young film makers to be creative: to not just tell someone what to do, but also how to do it.
  • Please enter a number from 0 to 10.
  • Technical and Creative Measures

  • Please enter a number from 0 to 15.
  • Please enter a number from 0 to 10.
  • Please enter a number from 0 to 10.
  • Please enter a number from 0 to 5.
If you are experiencing an emotional crisis, are thinking about suicide or are concerned about a friend call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately: 1-800-273-8255This is a free 24-hour hotline.
Directing Change is part of statewide efforts to prevent suicide, reduce stigma and discrimination related to mental illness, and to promote the mental health and wellness of students. These initiatives are funded by counties through the Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63) and administered by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities.
Suicide Prevention Awareness Your Social Marketer, Inc.