Image shown: Film still from Colo by T. Villaverde

Illuminate is an annual series of curated film and discussion events at Cork Film Festival which each focus on a differing aspect of mental health.  The series is supported by the HSE Cork Mental Health Services and Arts + Minds. Illuminate will take place from 14-18 November 2017 at Triskel Christchurch.

In an age where mental health issues and disabilities are increasingly destigmatised, discussed and understood in our society and our media, Illuminate uses the platform of film to tackle themes anxiety, balancing rights and needs, capacity, autism and many more.

This film and discussion series starts each time with a feature length film, and then breaks out into extended audience interactive discussion sessions, with clinicians, commentators, policy-makers, ethicists and philosophers interviewing and rejoining with the filmmakers.


Colo | 18 November
T. Villaverde | Portugal, France | 2017

Marta (Alice Albergaria Borges) is an introverted 17-year-old girl living with her parents in the suburbs of Lisbon. Her father (Joao Pedro Vaz) is unemployed and with money tight, her mother (Beatriz Batarda) works a second job in the evenings. Drifting and depressed, Marta’s self-harming becomes increasingly desperate, though she finds a sympathetic purpose when a friend confides that she is pregnant. Meanwhile, Marta’s father resorts to reckless measures to mend his own battered pride. Teresa Villaverde’s languid, poignant and poetic portrayal of a family fractured by oppressive modern living is vital filmmaking, its depiction of mental illness perceptive and humane.

32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide | 14 November
Presented in association with First Fortnight

Hope Litoff | USA | 2017

Ruth Litoff was an artist and photographer who tragically killed herself in 2008. Six years on, her sister Hope picks up a camera, attempting to address her own feelings about the suicide. We witness Hope pouring over Ruth’s remaining possessions, liberated from storage lockers, a collection that included the dead woman’s artwork, journals and a vast collection of prescription-drug bottles. A portrait of how the two women were effected by their dysfunctional parents’ disintegrating marriage is gradually revealed. Yet what becomes increasingly apparent is that Hope is finding little comfort in the process. Instead, she descends into a spiral of guilt, denial and addiction. 32 Pills is a gripping and unsettling video diary that daringly confronts the realities of mental illness.

Keep the Change | 17 November
Rachel Israel | USA | 2017

David (Brandon Polansky) is fond of inappropriate jokes, rarely deigns to take off his sunglasses, regularly visits dating websites and generally fancies himself. Sarah (Samantha Elisofon) is outgoing, optimistic, curious and sweet, without any of David’s pretensions. The pair meet at the local Jewish Community Centre, attending a support group for adults with disabilities. Both David and Sarah are on the autism spectrum, and though their first contact is fraught, a tender alliance gradually develops. Featuring a cast of nonprofessional autistic actors, Rachel Israel’s debut feature is a bold and distinctive New York rom-com which has picked up numerous prizes on the festival circuit.

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