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The Independent Critic

Omer Astrachan, Natalie Barnes, Vera Caldwell, Maja Giev, Robert Musicco, Barbara Pashut (Voice), Jimmy Paxton, Amanda Turner (Voice), Patricia Wood
Genevieve Clay-Smith
Natalie Barnes, Vera Caldwell, Maja Giev, Robert Musicco, Jimmy Paxton, Agnes Polese, Amanda Turner
10 Mins.

 "Gambling With Minds" to Screen at ReelAbilities Pittsburgh 

For those familiar with the work of Australia-based non-profit Bus Stop Films, Gambling with Minds is one of their more experimental efforts, a poetic and heartfelt short doc giving voice to the experiences of various mental health advocates who have lived experiences of mental illness and whose experiences with the Australian mental health system is honest, poignant, revealing, and impossible to ignore. 

Weaving both spoken word and dance into its cinematic tapestry, Gambling with Minds is almost meditative in its presence and builds to a remarkably impactful, unforgettable ending sequence that fully comes alive with this obviously intelligent, gifted ensemble cast. 

According to the Bus Stop Films website, " Bus Stop Films worked with six people who have lived experience of complex mental health issues and who have experienced the Australian mental health system to produce a documentary about their experience in order to raise awareness and advocate for more mental health awareness in society and suggest changes within the mental health system." 

The end result is Gambling with Minds, a film that captures the rhythm of mental illness and the frustrations of those living with it and dealing with a system that does, indeed, gamble with their minds. The people presented here look and sound like you and I precisely because they are much like you and I...they are our friends and neighbors, family members and co-workers, fellow students and casual acquaintances. 

For more information on Gambling with Minds, visit the Bus Stop Films website linked to in the credits. For more information on ReelAbilties Pittsburgh, where the film will be screening from Sept. 4-11, visit the ReelAbilties Pittsburgh website.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic