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King’s College London hosted the finale to this year’s successful tour of Medfest 2011, and without a hint of overzealous pride, rounded off the cinematic showcase with this year’s hit short, ‘Beards and bow-ties’, by Kamran Ahmed and produced by the Institute of Psychiatry.  Click the link in the right hand column to view .

Dr Ahmed won the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Morris Markowe Prize 2010 for public education for his essay ‘Beards and bow-ties: the recruitment crisis in psychiatry.’  He then wrote and directed the short, as a wider plea for understanding towards the world of psychiatry, an often overlooked sibling in the family of medical specialism.  As the film unfolds, we learn what it is to be a psychiatrist, what it takes to be a psychiatrist and the misconceptions which surrounds the profession – which could explain why it is difficult to entice students.

Dr Ahmed said: 'Many psychiatrists (and potential psychiatrists) have a creative streak, which I think we should embrace and encourage. There is a strong artistic element to psychiatry; the patient interview, making observations to perform a mental state examination and writing up an assessment invoke some of the same skills employed by journalists, photographers and writers. Both film and psychiatry are concerned with observing people, exploring personal relationships and incredible stories, often gripping and tragic. The depiction of psychiatrists in film and the image people have of psychiatrists is often negative, which is why I made 'Beards & Bow-ties', to give people an insight in to what psychiatry and psychiatrists are really like.'

The animated ‘Beards and bow-ties’, can be both funny and sad, and wonderfully balanced this year’s programme; 'The image of doctors', ‘Britain's health services: The family doctor’ a short documentary explaining the role of the NHS and ‘Shadowscan’ (2000) a BAFTA winning short, that portrays the dark reality of being a doctor.

The King’s showing was well attended, complimented by refreshments and a consequential robust Q+A session afterwards. 

Please see the Lancet’s review of Medfest 2011 at:

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