Psych Cinema
Films, plays and series are a magnificent obsession. They invite us into different lives and worlds and sometimes we don’t let go. At least the good ones do this: they stay with us for a while. They stick with us. We think about them after we leave the cinema, theaters and close the TV; and we want to talk about them with others.

Over time thoughts and discussions recur and their experience becomes a part of our very being.Films, plays and series help pass the time, but they can also entertain, teach, preach, and demonstrate a particular point of view. Some let us look into a world to which we may not have access. Some show us things we’ve never seen before or perhaps only imagined; helping us safely venture into places and times we cannot enter in our normal lives and to imagine new possibilities.

Films, plays and series often describe and explain the behavior of characters. These descriptions and explanations are also part usually based and intertwined with psychological theories. Every character, every story has some psychology behind it. Films, series and plays are also one of the major sources through which the public’s view of psychology has been shaped. At times, due to poor knowledge that is not based on a realistic portrayal, the public develops myths and misconceptions about the field; whether through a character of a mental health practitioner or someone with mental health problems. Films, plays and series are much stronger when portraying a genuine and accurate image of mental health and do justice to the public.

Portrayals of abnormality in the media have somewhat paralleled advancement in scientific understanding. That is, presentation, causal explanation, and treatment of psychopathology in film have seen changes over time. In early cinema, highly distorted presentations of the mentally ill were accompanied by unnecessarily pessimistic predictions for improvement. The mentally ill were portrayed as extremely dangerous individuals, suffering from some form of genetic defect, who must be locked away for life. With the rising influence of Freudian psychology, later films gave the indication that psychopathology may be due to deficits in early childrearing (primarily emphasizing the role of the bad mother), yet continued to promote the impression that such problems were likely to be permanent or at least resistant to change in the absence of the analyst uncovering a deep-seated source of trauma. More recently, we have begun to witness films that attempt to normalize a range of psychological disorders and that leave us with a more hopeful outlook on the possibilities for successful treatment, whether through pharmacological intervention, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. Such films may be of great public service in reducing the stigma of mental illness and encouraging those experiencing psychological problems to seek professional assistance with dignity.

Do you recall Alfred Hitchcock the Master of Suspense he is one of the few directors that is more closely associated with the psychology of film. Hitchcock directed almost 60 films and many of them dealt directly with psychological themes. Spellbound (1945) featured a psychiatrist and her patient and included a dream sequence by Salvador Dali. Psycho (1960) probably the most popular film dealing with psychological issues explored what happens when a son’s love for his mother goes wrong. Vertigo (1958) included a main character that is afraid of heights and includes themes of obsession, delusions, hallucinations, and parallel worlds. Rear Window (1954) made voyeurs out of us all as we watched Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly, watch others. The titles themselves evoke many sinister, psychological emotions and themes.As the “Master of Suspense”, Hitchcock made films that were both thrilling and disturbing. Despite the typically dark themes, Hitchcock’s films also contained comic elements that served to heighten the fear and anxiety and increase the range of emotion the audience might experience. All these movies were based on the use of psychological principles as they were being made.

Do you recall “beautiful mind” and the intensity as well as depth of the character of John Nash? Are you aware that he spent hours studying “Paranoid Schizophrenia” before standing infront of the camera? Do you even know what “Paranoid Schizophrenia” is?

Do you tend at times to ask yourself what factors push person A to kill B? What are the traits and definitions of a “Psychopath”?

Are you aware why one of your characters might self-harm and the reasons behind this?

Are you aware what is obsessive personality and how it behaves in real life?

What leads people to collapse and what kind of pressures are needed to lead to this?

Do you know when is the best time for Mrs. B to ask for a divorce and how did she manages when she fell into deep depression? Do you really know what Depression is?

Have you asked yourself what does a person do when he has a fear of flying and how he behaves in real life in a plane?

The above are examples of questions the scriptwriters may face during writing the script, the actor while preparing his role, or the director who wants to add a deeper psychological dimension to his character and work.

In the opening scene of The Graduate, Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) exits a plane and enters an airport terminal. When he steps onto a moving walkway, the camera begins to track alongside at the same pace, which keeps Benjamin's position fixed and isolated to the far right of an otherwise empty screen. The opening credits begin to fill the space as we listen to The Sounds of Silence, Simon and Garfunkel’s anthem to social alienation. Over the soundtrack, a voice from an airport loudspeaker requests: “Please hold onto the handrail and stand to the right. If you wish to pass, please do so, on the left.” This beginning anticipates the entire movie which tells a story of a newly minted college graduate entering adulthood without any sense of purpose or direction. Benjamin is moving though he doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. This is what Psych Cinema can do…

Psych Cinema will help you:

1- Build the interface between film and psychology.

2- Shape your characters to meet realistic standards.

3- Support and provide the research based material for the portrayal of psychological themes in film, series and plays.

4- Train the actors into realistically mimicking of characters with psychological buildup or difficulties.

5- Help directors and writers to portray a realistic vision of the surroundings of the characters.

6- Provide ethical standards and research based knowledge into portraying the field of psychology or any character playing a mental health practitioner.

7- Help with consumer psychology knowledge into the making of the film, series & plays.

8- Supporting actors with de-rolling.

9- Provide knowledge about sensation and perception in order to create a better impact on the viewers through the use of colors, effects, sounds and surroundings. Sensation refers to the process of detecting environmental stimuli and encoding corresponding neural signals. Perception is the process by which we organize and interpret such sensory information.

10- Provide knowledge using cognitive psychology to enhance the plot or narrative structure. Trying to make it more unbiased and objective.

11- Provide knowledge on Social psychology that addresses how people think, feel, and act in social situations.; coveringconcepts like social influence and social identity, friendship, interpersonal attraction and love, prejudice and stereotypes, conformity and compliance, aggression, altruism, and censorship.

12- Provide knowledge on Human Development and Developmental psychology which optimizes the description and explanation of physical, cognitive, and social age-related changes. It focuses on identifying the processes and mechanisms of change (the why and the how of change); especially dealing with films, series and plays about children, families, teens, fathers, mothers, daughters, and sons and the events that indicate how we as individuals change from one state to another and the causes and implications of those changes.

We can support and help you through collective workshops with specific or direct consultancy. Dr. Georgette Savvides can offer this support based on her extensive experience of 25 years in the field of mental health. She is able to make it as real as it gets yet as simple and lay as possible to the audiences.

Psych Cinema is pleased to announce the beginning of its services with “kesmatek we Nasibi” – Leading Actor Hani Salama – Director: Ateya Amin expected in Ramadan, 2016 by training and supporting the rising actress Reem Mostafa.

Actors are agents of change. A film, a piece of theater, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world” RIP Alan Rickman, those thoughts shared by such a great actor that made me come up with the concept of psycinema. I believe that the cinema world needs to depict a true reality of what mental health issues really are, the actors require a deep understanding of the characters they are personifying, this would bring to the light an art production implemented the psychological make up needed for the characters. This project is conducted through the workshops that Dr. Georgette gives in collaboration with screenwriters and actors.

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Dr. Georgette Savvides Consultant Clinical Psychologist for 30 Youm TV Drama

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