“THE SCARS OF ALI BOULALA” WELCOMES EUROPEAN CINEMA-GOERS BACK WITH A MENTAL HEALTH MESSAGE

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – 26 October 2021

UGC Cinema in Brussels today hosts a special avant-première screening of new documentary biopic The Scars of Ali Boulala, launching a call-to-action for EU policymakers to include arts therapy within a European Strategy on Mental Health.

The screening event is held under the patronage of Belgian Member of Parliament and Renew Group Co-Chair Frédérique Ries MEP and supported by the European Consortium for Arts Therapies Education (ECArTE). It includes a discussion on mental health featuring Swedish skateboarding legend Ali Boulala and ‘KeepAppy’ Founder Aimée-Louise Carton, with Belgian Tokyo Olympic Skateboarder Axel Cruysberghs contributing through a pre-filmed intervention.

Ali Boulala said:

“We’re all equals in this world, whether you’re a well-known sports star or struggling day to day. I hope through sharing my story with the world that we all become equals in our mental health care access.” 

Frédérique Ries MEP said:

I am proud to support Ali in his call for better mental health policy. Europe is facing a mental health crisis increased by the Covid-19 pandemic and the European Union must use every instrument at its disposal to support its member states to provide effective mental health care. This is why I am helping relay the Renew Group call for a European Strategy on Mental Health.

The event is supported by Think-Film Impact Production, impact producers for The Scars of Ali Boulala. Think-Film recently launched with the European Consortium of Arts Therapies Education (ECArTE) a new Baltic Initiative for European Arts Therapy for horizontal regulatory cooperation between Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to enable professional arts therapists to use their qualifications in multiple European member states. 

Danielle Turkov Wilson, Founder & Executive Director of Think-Film Impact Production said:

“Ali’s story shows why mental health tools are so important. We believe that the Baltic Initiative for European Arts Therapy has strong potential to be applied across Europe and call on the Commission to include arts therapy in a European Strategy on Mental Health.”

The Scars of Ali Boulala traces Ali’s journey through grief, depression and addiction following a tragic motorcycle accident. Sober since 2013, Ali has chosen to share his recovery story as a way to support and inspire others struggling with mental health challenges. The film is produced by Sisyfos Productions and will be released in 2022. The trailer, released on 25 October 2021, is available here.

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NOTES:

Think-Film Impact Production is a unique European and global social impact company that harnesses the power of visual storytelling to drive forward political and social change. Winner of the ‘World in 2050 Innovation Olympics, Artistic Visions Category’, Think-Film has a proven track record in bringing compelling stories to people in positions of power, connecting with national, regional and international policy agendas in dynamic new ways and driving forward concrete decisions, commitments and outcomes that bring measurable, lasting change to global situations.

Think-Film impact campaigns have, among other achievements, advocated for Syria peace-building through platforming heroic medical leader Dr. Amani with international human rights prizes (Oscar-nominated “The Cave” National Geographic 2019), accelerated European chemicals protection to a full PFAS ban (“Dark Waters” Participant Media 2020), changed the European conversation on artificial intelligence to a human-centred approach (“iHUMAN” 2019) and removed toxic solvents from Apple’s smartphone production (“Complicit” 2015).

Details of the ECArTE Mutual Recognition Project that Think-Film is supporting are available here.

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Sisyfos Film Production is an independent production company based in Sweden that produces high-profile documentaries with a focus on collaborations with international and domestic directors that have a unique voice, a high artistic ambition, and share the passion for the art of cinematic storytelling. Sisyfos Film has produced critically acclaimed and award-winning films such as Scheme Birds, Merry Christmas, Yiwu and The Assembly. Coming up in 2022 are two new documentaries; The Scars of Ali Boulala and How to Save a Dead Friend.