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Cineflix to Produce Two-Part Highlight of Channel 4 Mental Health Season

Cineflix Productions has been commissioned by Channel 4 to produce two high-profile programs challenging mental health stigma and discrimination. The programs form the centre-piece of the broadcaster’s mental health season entitled  4 Goes Mad.

The 2 x 60’ stripped event programs (currently untitled) will feature a cast of eight dynamic employees – some of whom have a mental health condition – who are out to prove the stereotypes wrong. They have agreed to  take part in a variety of tasks and activities before a prestigious panel of employers whose job is to decide who they consider to be employable.  A psychiatrist and psychologist will guide viewers through the maze of mental health conditions.

A key added twist is that some of the contributors will have appeared 'undercover' on some of Channel 4's most popular prime-time strands in the week before the two-parter is broadcast. Clips of their appearances on these shows will also be shown throughout the series. The programs are executive produced by Camilla Lewis and series produced by Mandy Thomson.

Channel 4 Factual Commissioning Editor Lina Prestwood is overseeing the season, she says: “This lively and entertaining format will encourage viewers to see the person rather than the diagnosis. We're confident that the individuals who do have a mental health problem will be indistinguishable from other contributors as they appear across the schedule and that their appearance in this series will defy deeply-ingrained assumptions about people with mental health-problems – particularly relating to their ability to work.”

“We have worked closely with leading mental health organizations including the Mental Health Foundation and Time to Change to ensure that, across the week, our audiences will be meeting people with conditions such as depression, bipolar, eating disorders, OCD and schizophrenia in a way that is surprising and enlightening.”

Camilla Lewis, Managing Director of Cineflix Productions (UK) and executive producer of the program says:  "Mental Health is often called the last great taboo despite the fact that one in four of us will have a mental health episode in our lifetime. We are delighted that Channel 4 is tackling such an important subject via our bold and innovative format. The programs will be entertaining and informative and will highlight the normality of mental health issues".

Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, England's national mental health anti-stigma program, run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, said: "The stigma that still surrounds mental health problems is life-limiting and sometimes tragically life threatening.  Even though mental health problems are very common, people still feel too embarrassed or afraid to talk about them. However we are slowly starting to see more open public discussion, and growing interest from employers. 

"It's encouraging to see a major broadcaster tackle this deep-seated taboo. We realize that, at its heart, this is an entertainment season but we hope it will turn the spotlight onto a subject that desperately needs to be de-mystified and open it up to a much wider audience."

Channel 4 Disability Executive, Paralympics & Creative Diversity, Alison Walsh adds: “A quarter of us will experience mental distress or disorder at some point in our lives, as the complex web of factors that affect our mental health fail to equip us to cope with what life throws at us. Yet ‘madness’ is a subject we mostly try not to talk about – and when we do, we are afraid of saying the wrong thing. In the best tradition of Channel 4 disability programming this season will bring a blast of honesty and straight-talking to both entertain and explore the issues.”

Cineflix Productions (UK) is a subsidiary of Cineflix Media Inc.

Cineflix Media Inc. is a leading international media company that is bringing together a mix of global broadcast and production partners, major talent and key executives to get top quality original content produced and distributed for television and other emerging platforms. Currently involved in the creation of more than 400 hours per year of multi-genre TV for international broadcasters, and with a rapidly expanding library of 2500 hours, Cineflix Media is a recognized leader in the industry with offices in Montreal, Toronto, London, New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Dublin.

For more information, contact:

Mark Ogle at OH Communications (for Cineflix):
mark@ohcommunications.co.uk; t: +44 (0) 7789 981 561

Gabrielle Free, Vice President Publicity and Communications:
gfree@cineflix.com; +1 416 504 7317 (ext. 638); +1 416 220 0201