Detox: a look at how toxic masculinity can impact on young men

What does toxic masculinity mean to you? Detox asks contributors  Brenddo, Alex and Rex to share their experiences about toxic masculinity and the impact it has had on them. Rife catches up with Islay Griffiths, who co-directed the film.

Tell us about the film.

Detox is a product of the need that young people feel for open and honest conversations about the reality of this issue as we witness it damaging self-identity, relationships and mental health. ‘Toxic masculinity’ is a buzzword that is becoming increasingly prevalent in Gen Z’s vocabulary, as today’s teens try to make sense of why society pushes different values onto men and women. Why should men have to repress their sadness or sensitivity for fear of appearing too feminine, and when this is fostering a culture of anger and ‘toxicity’, why aren’t we doing anything about it?

How did you approach making the film?

To make this film we found young men who wanted to share their views on how toxic masculinity has affected aspects of their lives, asking them how their perception of masculinity has been affected by the media, their parents and their sexualities, among other things. It was important to the crew that we interviewed our contributors in environments they were comfortable in – Rex in his bedroom-slash-music-studio, Alex in a local skate park and Brenndo in the Watershed studio and Bristol harbourside. This way we could authentically capture them doing what they enjoy and proving that masculinity has no fixed form.

What was it like making the film ? How did the team work together?

The making of this film was a creatively collaborative process between seven young people, all eager to remove the stigma around men talking openly and honestly about their emotions. Every member of the team had the chance to utilise their established filmmaking skills or develop new ones, such as producing or art direction. It took several weekly sessions to develop our vision for the film once we had established the premise, but it was the post-production stage we found most challenging, having to decide what to cut out of the film due to time constraints. We all had fun getting to know one another and the topic of our film prompted many interesting discussions about masculinity.

Would you recommend the BFI Film Academy to other people?

Everyone on the team would like to thank the BFI Film Academy at the Watershed for giving us the opportunity to make this film and recommend the course to all other young people in Bristol interested in filmmaking. It has given us the chance to hone our filmmaking skills by using professional equipment as well as successfully working as a team; everyone filled different roles in the production, but their input was equally valued. It has been an enriching learning process that has given us insight into the British film industry as well as an opportunity to build friendships with other like-minded people on the course.

Watching the film now, how do you feel?

We feel proud of Detox and hope it inspires our audience to talk to someone in their life about their experience with societal perceptions of masculinity and challenge the idea of what a man is ‘supposed’ to be.


Directors – Islay Griffiths and Brandon Trembath

Producer  – Dot Williams

Art Director – Angel Hannaway

Director of Photography  – Brenndo Forecchi

Camera Operator – Shyon Powell

Edited by – Islay Griffiths, Schaeffer McLean and Elias Williams

Sound Recordist – Schaeffer McLean

Music by– Gaiazzurra Moreno-Meldru

Production Mentor – Elias Williams

This documentary was made by participants on the BFI Film Academy programme and delivered by Watershed.

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