Three friends return home when one of their own commits suicide; but for Malcolm, his best friend's death is just another reminder of his father's suicide two years earlier. Struggling to go forth, Malcolm and his ex-girlfriend Mara find comfort in their former intimacy; but as they reminisce about their past, will they avoid losing their future?
Run Time: 21 minutes.
I wrote the script in late 2008 and decided to shoot it in 2009. Armed with an HVX200, $4000, and a lot of determination, I spent a couple months calling in favors from friends, auditioning actors, and finding locations. We shot over 15 days in my hometown (which, being in upstate New York, had never seen a film shoot before and was more than happy to help out a local kid; thanks again, Yorktown!) in June 2009, and finished the first final cut about a year later.
"First final cut?"
After several test screenings at local colleges, feedback, we decided to recut the film to focus more directly on the suicide and its aftermath. From 86 minutes down to just under 21 minutes, we drained the film of every subplot and scene that didn't further the central story. Suicide Kids is far stronger for it. In particular, I love how the flashbacks and fluid use of time help the viewer share in Malcolm's disorientation in the aftermath of the suicide. I'll always have a certain love for that first, long cut, but the shorter version tells a more compelling story about people trying to overcome traumatic loss.
It's been an exciting and educational process going from words on the page to images on the screen. I like to joke that the process of shepherding this film from first draft to final cut has been my own personal grad school. So, as a commencement of sorts, I'm excited for Suicide Kids to finally be out in the world and seen by as many people as possible. Please let me know what you think in the comments - and share, share, share!