Dundee film-maker dazzles in Beverley Hills

Alison Davie (left) with Artemis Film festival founder Melanie Wise and producer Zuleika Gilbert.

It was initially a low-budget film intended for local viewing.

But a Dundee-born director’s mental health documentary has ended up being an international success after dazzling judges at festivals around the world.

Alison Davie, who wrote and directed Crazy Happy, recently won Best Writer of a Feature at Toronto Alternative Film Festival.

The 49-year-old also rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous at Artemis Film Festival in Beverley Hills, LA, where the documentary was nominated for an award.

Crazy Happy producer Zuleika Gilbert with writer and director Alison Davie at the LA red carpet event.
Crazy Happy producer Zuleika Gilbert with writer and director Alison Davie at the LA red carpet event.

Alison said: “It was just fantastic, a dream come true.

“I’ve always dreamed of being at a red carpet event and even though we didn’t win anything in LA, it was an honour  for such a small documentary to go so far.

“It was also an amazing achievement for the producer Zuleika Gilbert, who originally came up with the idea.

“We met Zoe Bell, who is a bit of an icon in New Zealand, and Paul Feig who directed the film Bridesmaids.

“One of the honourees was Tom Cruise, although unfortunately he wasn’t there.”

Alison enjoyed the bright lights of Beverley Hills.
Alison enjoyed the bright lights of Beverley Hills.

Crazy Happy was filmed in New Zealand, where Alison currently lives.

The documentary followed a group of people battling mental health issues for 100 days, while they took one photograph of something that made them happy every day.

They then discussed their photographs in informal group sessions, overseen by mental health professionals.

The project proved so powerful that after the 100 days were up, the 20 participants saw an improvement in their mental health.

Alison added: “It’s incredible that the film has made such a difference, not only on the participants’ lives but on others too.

“People were tweeting us to say that they were doing their own 100 day projects.

“The whole thing has been so well received.

“Hopefully the recognition will mean that we can do more screenings including in Scotland, and that we can attract funding for other projects.”

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