For the past three years, filmmaker and psychoanalyst in training Conor McCormack has documented Bristol Hearing Voices Network – a self-help group for people who hear voices and have other unusual experiences.
Strange and wonderful, intimate and emotionally affecting, In the Real is an observational collaborative documentary which goes to the heart of the voice-hearing experience. Who, or what, are the voices that only these men can hear? What do they say and what do they mean? And how does hearing voices transform their sense of self and world?
Bristol filmmaker Conor McCormack (Christmas with Dad) gained access to this remarkable community of voice-hearers forged on the medicated margins of society. From outpatient clinic to riverside, bedsit to park bench, In the Real offers a rare insight into the inner logic of each character’s madness through the intimate moments of the everyday. By exploring the ways voice-hearers negotiate the complex deadlocks of psychosis and help each other to make sense of their unusual experiences, the film shows how, contrary to popular misconception, hearing voices can play a positive, creative and stabilising role in people’s lives.
These are stories of resilience and survival, of loss and love, of the creation of a world outside the mainstream, a place where one can remain open to all kinds of human experience. These are powerfully emotive stories that explore the boundaries of human subjectivity, taking the viewer to a place where the available mental health discourses start to break down. In telling these stories, In the Real asks new questions about the nature and reality of mental health and illness.
In the Real was supported creatively and financially by Hearing the Voice - an interdisciplinary study of voice hearing based at Durham University, funded by the Wellcome Trust.
Dr Angela Woods, of Hearing the Voice will introduce and chair the Q&A panel. The panel will be: Conor McCormack joined by Don, Errol and Aaron who are participants in the film.