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Insanity Vault

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Nathan Kensinger


The 1960's saw the closure of hundreds of psychiatric hospitals when people gained more and more awareness of lobotomy, lobectomy, electroshock therapy, insulin therapy, and when the discovery of Thorazine prompted patients' release to the community. After the onset of de-institutionalization, there has been an almost deliberate effort to bury the history of these places.

Ian Ference, an amateur photographer has visited dozens of derelict insane asylums - mostly by breaking into the guarded premises - in order to resurrect the memories of those forgotten patients.

Insanity Vault follows Ian through one of his crazy adventures in Connecticut.

The team arrives at Norwich State Hospital early morning and sets up for a long walk in the nearby forest and along a disused railway line which leads to the abandoned buildings. They progress in a military like operation towards the safety of the tunnels, carefully avoiding the patrol.

Ian sets up base camp in one of the halls, which was originally used as a non violent building. Walls are crumbling and fallen plaster covers the ground several inches deep in some corners. Discarded documents and artefacts are scattered around.

The forensic ward, which housed the guilty for reason of insanity and the violent patients, is disturbingly beautiful. Sun rays finding their way through the barred windows, contrast with the sternness of the corridors. In some rooms, the roof has even collapsed.


Type of film
Running Time
15 mins
Sylvie Bolioli
Director of Photography
Nathan Kensinger
Riomond Mirza
Principal Cast
Ian Ference

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Last updated 29th January 2009

Production Company

Polaris Productions Ltd.
9 Merton Mansions
Bushey Road
Raynes Park
London SW20 8DQ

T +44(0)20 8542 8276