The new APA Film Festival — a major expansion of APA's Annual Convention film program — will feature multinational films for the first time as well as some engaging panel discussions following several of the screenings, sometimes with the filmmakers themselves. The festival will run throughout this year's APA Annual Convention, Aug. 7–10, in Washington, D.C.

"There's a distinct place for both the art and the science of psychology, and this is part of the art contribution," says Robert D. Simmermon, EdD, who chairs APA's Ad Hoc Committee on Films and Other Media, which oversees the festival.

The addition of international offerings has greatly expanded the crop of submissions, says Simmermon. This year's film entries include:

  • "Out of Control: The Power of the Unconscious Mind," a short film from Britain on a new finding in consciousness research.
  • "The Last Frontier," about a revelatory mother-daughter road trip in Germany.
  • "Drops of Smoke," which addresses a transformative relationship between an elderly Brazilian widow and her neighbor who had been suicidal.

Awards will be presented for the best submissions in feature-length, short and avant-garde films.

The festival, launched at last year's convention in Honolulu, is the culmination of 30 years of film-related convention events the committee is responsible for, Simmermon says. Over the years, the films have arrived in four categories, each one adding on to the last: At first there were instructional and educational films, then broader documentary-style films on psychology topics, then films exploring pressing social issues, and now offerings that are strong in craft and narration.

"The artistic component has been evolving, so these films are now poignant stories well told," Simmermon says.

The committee chooses the most promising and cutting-edge works from both professional filmmakers and psychologists who make films. As such, it's never too early to think about submitting something yourself, says Simmermon. "We want to see more submissions from fellow psychologists, and we particularly want to provide our younger colleagues the chance to share their voice," he says.

— Tori DeAngelis

For a complete festival line-up, check the APA Annual Convention program listing.