Every year nearly 30,000 Americans take their lives. For people aged 15 to 24, suicide constitutes the third leading cause of death. Most of them suffer in silence and never seek help. This is a devastating figure given that 80 percent of people with depression get successfully treated.
Communication proves vital in preventing the epidemic—something local filmmaker Missy Beasley hopes to illuminate. In order to convey her message, she has set her sights on making a short, fictional narrative film, “Bridge the Gap.”
For as long as Beasley can remember, she’s had a keen interest in the arts; however, it wasn’t until she was 16 that she actually discovered her passion for film. Though Beasley’s formative years resulted in her developing an artisic flair, they were also marked by suicidal thoughts. Quiet and awkward, she often felt alienated in adolescence. As well, Beasley fell victim to childhood sexual abuse. For a long time, she remained silent on these issues—something she hopes won’t be the case for others.
“I was afraid to talk to anyone about what I was feeling and experiencing,” Beasley explains. “I came to that point myself because I felt so alone. I just know there are so many kids going through very heavy things and don’t feel they can open up to anyone about it. There is a severe communication gap between adults and teens. I really hope to put a bridge across that gap.”
“Bridge the Gap” tells the story of two teens at their breaking point, who find each other. Fifteen-year-old Nikki (Rebekah Cohen) falls victim to school bullying—a current hot-button issue—while 15-year-old Brody (Logan Siu) finds himself marred by the grasp of despair as a result of sexual abuse. By some serendipitous feat, the two cross each other’s path when suicide seems to be the only option left. As their relationship evolves, they realize such a drastic measure is not the answer.
“Kids are being told that suicide is a permanent ‘solution’ to a temporary problem,” Beasley articulates. “I don’t feel that it is a solution at all.”
Not new territory for the compassionate filmmaker, “Bridge the Gap” actually began as a project she did five years ago. Her first introduction to film was as an avid writer. Perpetuated by her own experiences, she wrote “Bridge the Gap,” got a Canon XL2, and eagerly began shooting. Though it fared well at local festivals, she revisits the project in hopes of bringing new energy. She laments inexperience at her first undertaking, and hopes her growth as an artist will shed fresh light on a topic so dear to her heart.
“I guess, I started out with this big idea of getting famous with my art,” she states. “Now, as I have matured as a person, I would much rather use my art to change people and make a difference in the world.”
Pre-production for “Bridge the Gap” began in October of 2013, with shooting starting earlier in the month and re-shoots slated for February. Beasley aims to have a premiere at the end of March. The final cut should be from 10 to 15 minutes, a length which efficiently delves into the topic while holding the focus of high-school students and festival-goers.
The film’s message not only shines through Beasley, but also through her dedicated crew. Though Beasley’s production company, Clout Motion Pictures, has compensated for food, hotels, and travel, the crew has voluteered their work on the project. She concedes a number of the people working on the project have been affected in some way by suicide, all of whom include: Gavin Meyer (assitant director); Sean Williams (director of photography); Tina Edwards (2nd director of photography, set photographer); Kevin Sandera (camera operator); Brian Dormady (sound); Tanner Martinelli (production assistant), Wendy Reavis (public relations); Katherine Niessner (wardrobe); Justina Englese (make-up); Matt Barrett (effects make-up); and Madelyn Cline (supporting cast). They have even taken to wearing yellow suicide awareness bracelets throughout the film’s production that read “Suicide is NO Solution.”
Upon the film’s completion, Beasley hopes to garner the same positivity from local film outlets and sets her sights on festivals across the country. Given the youth-oriented nature of “Bridge the Gap,” she would like to see the film play in public schools, accentuated by discussion kits. As well, she’s tossed around the idea of partnering with similar-minded foundations to augment her film’s effectiveness in tackling the topic of suicide—she’s even started tentatively planning a “fun run” that will raise funds for suicide prevention organizations. Still, her main focus remains completing the project and imparting its message through as many outlets as possible.
In order to fund production, the project has raised $1,500 dollars through their IndieGoGo campaign. It is far from complete, and they wish to collect an additional $2,000 to aid in finishing “Bridge the Gap” and getting it out to the public. Those interested in helping the film and its cause can head over to the production company’s website, cloutmotionpictures.com, and click the donate button to contribute.
“I don’t believe we will ever stop bullying or abus[ing]—or [dealing with] bad things in general—so, what do we do?” Beasley asks. “How do we bring this growing suicide rate down? We need to teach kids how to spot that suicidal child and be there for that person. We help kids speak up and speak out. Kids will always be afraid to talk to adults, but kids can help kids. That is the key to all of this and that is what we show in this film. A teenager steps in to save a teenager. They both save each other.”DETAILS
Bridge the Gap
Film by Missy Beasley
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