Creative talent on display in Nathan Addai’s short film for BBC Introducing Arts

December sees the release of Nathan Addai‘s short film ‘Mental Roots‘ on BBC Four’s programme Animated Shorts: BBC Introducing Arts. ‘Mental Roots’ is a multimedia project that Nathan Addai founded in early 2020; a series of audio and visual content combining animation, journalism, poetry and music to educate on and empower black people’s mental health. Nathan explains below;

“In February 2020, in the final year of my BA Animation degree, I was selected by Rural Media’s New Creatives Midlands program for the exciting opportunity to help create, fund and distribute the ‘Mental Roots film. In addition to Director, I was also Writer, Voiceover Artist/Poet and Colouring Animator. ​

Mental Roots places you in the shoes of a first-generation black Brit who embodies the common fears and stigmas of mental health issues among young black men. At a local youth meeting, he starts to wonder: what led to his mental breaking point? Is he already beyond help? Coming from a context where many young people like him live as shells of themselves, are his true emotions worth trusting? Mental Roots offers a challenging proposition: maybe we should see vulnerability as part of the cure, rather than the disease…

The film was made remotely, with the bulk of production taking place during Autumn 2020. Completed in March 2021, the film’s coming together was also largely inspired by the Mental Roots Podcast, which I launched in July 2020 after the worldwide discourse on racism increased after the killing of George Floyd.

Since then, the podcast is now in its second season, filled with interviews with other black men sharing their own mental health experiences and various societal/cultural factors impacting them.

In my Masters in Visual Communication (MA), I created a sequel to the ‘Mental Roots’ animation including excerpts of the podcast, which will be released sometime in 2022.”

Film promo is on Instagram @animnathan_ and LinkedIn Nathan Addai. Podcast Instagram: @mentalrootspodcast

New Creatives is supported by Arts Council England and BBC Arts. See below for full ‘Mental Roots’ credits.

Nathan Addai – Director, Writer, Lead Animator, Voiceover Artist
Anna Campbell – Producer
Sipho Ndlovu – Spoken Word Mentor, Background Vocal Actor
Michelle Brand – Sketch Animator
Hashim Diriye – Clean Up/ Colouring Animator
Jesse Francis – Music Composition
Chris Reed – Sound Design
Callum Edwards-Manning – Background Vocal Actor