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Manchester film maker hopes new project ‘A Scrapbook of What’s Yours’ opens up conversations on mental health experience

Manchester based filmmaker Darryl Ashton has created a film chronicling his own mental health journey, encouraging others to open up about their own experience

Darryl Ashton, who has made his home in Manchester, got an unexpected response when he put together a music video chronicling his journey with Bipolar Disorder Disorder (BPD).

The film documents his journey with depression, and the trials and tribulations of living with the condition.

The story began on World Mental Health Day in 2022, where he met a friend at the Boomtown Festival who was sharing content raising awareness about the day, and he wondered how he could help.

As as all great ideas start, he started writing.

Darryl said: “I wanted to help support the day, but wasn’t entirely sure how to do it.”  To begin with, he filmed the screen, and edited the footage down to a six-minute music video for one of the songs, “Waiting on a Perfection.”

You can watch that below.

But what followed surprised him.

People began opening up with him about their own experiences with challenging mental health and depression – a talking point that otherwise would not be broached in everyday conversation.

Darryl continued:  “After I published the video, I sent it to a few friends and family members, and the response I got was unexpected – people started talking to me about their own mental health journey.

“The message in the video was getting through to people in ways I couldn’t have imagined at the time.

“People were opening up about subjects that they felt they had to keep to themselves.  So I decided to continue revisiting the music I made two decades ago, and make a full-length film for one of the albums.”

Darryl has now put together an 80 minute film elaborating on themes of depression, connection and recovery.

Darryl at the Stoller Hall

It is called A Scrapbook of What’s Yours

He continued: “What started as a short video, evolved into a film.  It was something completely unplanned.

“It became a documentation of my own personal journey through exploring my own mental health experiences over the last twenty years, and discovering that what I was missing was never really gone.

“I’m really glad it’s opened up the conversation too.”

Following on from these themes, the new 80 minute film is a montage of footage from around Manchester, Canada, USA, and old VHS footage from 1992 courtesy of his dad.

All that and a near-death experience on the River Mersey.

The film is set to premiere at Home on March 5th, having been warmly received at its debut in Berlin earlier this month.

Darryl hopes it will be considered for the Manchester International Film Festival which also takes place in March.

He has scooped a few awards for his efforts too, winning Best Experimental Film at Crown Point international film festival, and Outstanding Experimental Film at the Knight of the Reel Awards.

The full film will be released on YouTube on March 5th, but you can catch the trailer below.

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