In 2019-2020 Mental Ideas collaborated with filmmaker and ambassador Raffaello Degruttola and Contro Vento Films to co-produce a feature-length film, Transference: A Bipolar Love Story. As well as directing, Raff acts in the film alongside Emilie Sofie Johannsesen, Lotte Verbeek and Simone Lahbib.
Transference is a heartfelt and compelling love story of two immigrant nurses, one of whom has a secret that threatens to implode their secret love affair. Set in London, the film explores themes of emotional isolation, denial, cultural displacement and mental illness and features a talented cast of European character actors, including Raffaello Degruttola (‘Saving Private Ryan’, ‘Rush’, ‘The Hustle’) Silver Leopard award-winning Lotte Verbeek (‘Outlander’, ‘The Blacklist’), Simone Lahbib (‘Da Vinci’s Demons’, ‘Philomena’), Ania Sowinski (‘Men in Black: International’, ‘Eddie the Eagle’), Christina Chong (‘Johnny English Reborn’, ‘Line of Duty’) and stand-out Norwegian newcomer Emilie Sofie Johannsen.
The film draws influence from Raff’s difficult relationship with his father, who struggled with a severe version of bipolar disorder throughout his life. Below are some stills from the film. Catch Raff talking about his relationship with his bipolar father and how it fueled his creative work on our Mental Ideas Podcast, which launched on RTHK Radio 3 in April 2020.
The film was exec produced by Bill Bossert, co-produced by Sadie Kaye, filmed by DP Simon Haynes and edited by Charlie Lort-Phillips. The film was privately screened in London and Italy in late 2019. In 2020 the film was shortlisted among 4 other narrative feature films for the competition stage of the postponed New York Socially Relevant Film Festival. The festival was eventually held online June 2020. Transference was placed runner up in the Narrative Feature category and received a Special Jury Mention from the judges.
The film was also selected for the upcoming Buenos Aires International Film Festival and Arizona International Film Festival (postponed to April 2021) in the Dramatic Feature category. In April 2020 the film was offered distribution by 1091 Media/The Orchard. In June 2020 the film won Best Drama Feature Film at the International Anatolia Film Festival. In Dec 2019 it won the Zoroaster Award at the Italian-Azerbaijan Film Festival. In Sept 2020 it was officially selected for The Hague Global Film Festival. The festival takes place in Nov.