After the success of its first Clé 56 series, the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal wanted to demystify another facet of the institution: life in its residential resources. In collaboration with director Alexandre Hamel, the production company Pixcom and broadcaster TV5, the challenge was to present the daily life of the residents of La Petite Patrie and the Viau residence. Maisons de fous is an eight-episode documentary series produced by Pixcom on psychiatry in the community, which was broadcast on TV5 in the fall of 2011. Foliewood is the Web spinoff of the series, 11 video clips produced by the Institute and directed by Alexandre Hamel and the patients he came to know. With all the taboos and prejudices surrounding mental health, it was essential to create a tool for sensitization intended for a wider public. The project, broadcast on the Web and on TV, reached a broad audience and shone a light on a situation that is rarely shown. The videos were also an eloquent tribute to the courage and determination of the service’s users, and a testament to the generosity they showed in agreeing to help fight prejudice. And the project was a paean to the admirable work the caregivers perform each day. Their patience made this moving homage to the fight the residents waged on their way to recovery possible. Ultimately, it contributed to reducing the stigma associated with mental illness and its concurrent disorders.
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