Film aimed at breaking stigmas to premiere on World Mental Health Day

Canadian filmmakers say they’re dedicated to breaking mental health stigma, and this time the story hits close to home.

By Stella Acquisto

Director Stephen Hosier chose World Mental Health Day to release his feature film, a documentary that sheds light on the systemic obstacles in obtaining mental health treatment.

“ATTILA” is about twin brothers whom Hosier grew up with, Richard and Attila Csanyi.

“The film essentially follows Richard investigating the life and death of Attila who went missing at the peak of the first wave of COVID-19,” explained Hosier.

Hosier has known the twins since they were all in Grade 2. By early 2020, Attila was 28 years old and struggling with opioid addiction and schizophrenia when he was expelled from a long-term care home.

Weeks later, Hosier remembers learning what happened to his friend from Richard.

“I distinctly remember the phone call … this was weeks after he had been missing and you know we’re seeing posts all over Facebook about Attila being missing and he said, ‘Steve they found Attila.’ I said, ‘Thank god, Where was he?’ and Richard said, ‘Dead on the rooftop in Hamilton,'” shared Hosier.

“It was during that initial phone call [that] Richard started opening up and sharing a little bit more about his past, in foster care growing up and some pretty horrific abuse they experienced between ages six and eight,” he added.

Richard and Hosier, who made films together as high schoolers, decided to collaborate once more.

The resulting 80-minute documentary will be released on Oct. 10 and is intended to shed light on the systemic obstacles that they believe contributed to Attila’s death. They also hope to break the stigma around mental health, addiction and homelessness.

According to the Government of Canada, nearly 7,328 apparent opioid toxicity deaths occurred last year alone.

Young to middle-aged, ages 20-59, males accounted for more than 70 per cent of the deaths and of all accidental apparent opioid toxicity deaths in 2022, more than 80 per cent involved fentanyl.

“I’m thrilled to be presenting the film as a world premiere and special presentation at Rendezvous with Madness which is the world’s longest-running and largest mental health arts festival and being the 75th anniversary of World Mental Health Day, we couldn’t imagine a better time and place to be releasing the film, said Hosier.

Tickets are pay what you can, and all proceeds go to Workman Arts Organization which helps artists living with mental health and addiction issues.

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