By Michelle Furuta, MD
On October 10th, 2017, Art of Storytelling went to Berlin for its international premiere, received by an audience of over 200 at the World Psychiatric Associations's Annual Congress - a massive conference of over 10,000 psychiatrists from over 134 countries. Multiple screenings in the US over the past 18 months has taught us so much. When we first ventured out, we wanted to share our film with the public, not appreciating the need that other psychiatrists have to connect to their own stories and an authentic professional identity. Beaten down from decades of stereotype and stigmatization- dehumanized, devalued, discredited, and completely misunderstood - psychiatrists have largely stayed quiet to the public and focus on their work, but have also stayed quiet to each other, and have lost their voice. So when we show the film to other psychiatrists, the room is filled with tears. They relate feeling deeply moved in seeing a shared positive value system and incredible, hidden strengths within their colleagues. The stereotypes could not be farther from the truth. So we wondered - would the themes that resonate so strongly with the American community resonate with our colleagues worldwide? Following the screening in Berlin, a young psychiatrist from London approached the microphone: "I just want to say that I haven't cried watching a movie since 1994 when I watched The Lion King, and I just cried watching your film." Other questions and comments followed - How can we do this in our own communities? Will you come to our country? Two days later I was approached at another talk by a viewer from our screening: "Excuse me, I just want to say - thank you...thank you for bringing your film here. I really enjoyed it so much, and when I left I felt...well...I just felt so good..."
Art of Storytelling has a home in our profession, and it carries a truthful message that transcends generation, culture, and continent.