louise johansen courtesy of sane cinema

Source: Sane Cinema

Louise Johansen

Mental health consultancy Sane Cinema is launching at the Berlinale by partnering with the European Film Market (EFM) to offer a room of silence and mindfulness sessions to market attendees.

The Room of Stillness is based at the Documentation Centre, Stresemannstraße 90, five minutes from Martin Gropius Bau, and will be open from 10am-7pm Feb 17-21.   There will be guided mindfulness sessions with Tatjana Mesar  on Monday, Feb 20 at 12.00, 14.00 and 15.00.

Sane Cinema is the brainchild of Louise H Johansen, a Danish-born, Prague-based festival programmer and producer, who has previously organised talks on mental health at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and Ostrava Kamera Oko.  

“We wanted to do something that will make a difference to people on the spot,” said Johansen. “You can come and sit and close your eyes and relax and turn your phone off for a moment. Then hopefully you can bring these tools home when you leave the EFM.”

The aim is for Sane Cinema to partner with international film festivals and training platforms, for both public or closed sessions, with filmmakers and production companies. Johansen plans to connect mental health experts and professional leadership coaches to the industry as well as offering opportunities to listen to colleagues and peers.

Johansen said she was inspired to establish Sane Cinema after reading about the troubling responses to the UK’s Film and TV Charity 2019 survey The Looking Glass, which found that nine out of 10 respondents working in the UK’s film and TV industries had experienced a mental health problem.

Johansen says working with the EFM was a logical next step as the market organisers have hosted sessions related to mental health for several years and see it as a priority. 

With additional funding for the venture, she hopes to ramp up offerings on the training and educational side. She would also like to explore partnerships for gathering more data about the state of mental health in the industry. “We’ve got to work together and connect the dots,” she says. 

Johansen, who previously worked at CPH PIX and MIDPOINT, continues to work as a programmer for the Athens International Children’s Film Festival, as well as producing her own projects (her credits include Grandma Lo-fi and Last And First Men).