Bob’s ‘Voices’ speak volumes at film festival

Bob Owtram
Bob Owtram

Training to be a mental health nurse has clearly inspired Chirnside’s Bob Owtram who is now celebrating winning an award at the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival.

Bob scooped the accolade for his film ‘Voices’ after beating off some strong competition from a field of 110 entrants from all over the world.

Bob found that the International Film Competition, which runs as part of the overall Festival, had an entry section called ‘Artist Film’ which seemed to fit his project perfectly.

‘Voices’ was named joint winner of this section and two years on from first being inspired to make a film Bob is pleased it’s prompted such a strong reaction.

“It is probably the most emotionally charged film I’ve made to date,” Bob commented.

“It has the potential to conjure up a range of emotions.

“It starts off very dark and wintry both visually and in subject matter with references to bullying, self-harming and the administering of psychiatric drugs in hospitals but the message at the end is very much one of hope and of better weather ahead.”

Bob is in the third year of his mental health course at Edinburgh Napier and ‘Voices’ received a boost from the university’s Student Grant Initiative.

“Any student on any course can apply for funding,” Bob explained.

“The only thing is you have to be in your second or third year while I was in my first when I first had the idea of making the film.

“I applied straight away once eligible and the grant was the trigger that got the ball rolling.”

Bob had done his research on the Mental Health Arts & Film Festival and pinpointed entering a film into it as a key priority in his grant application.

“I thought there were a lot of messages surrounding mental health and recovery and felt passionately about getting them across at an emotional level rather than just words. I used the paintings and prose of other artists to make a narrative.”

‘Voices’ can be viewed at