Why this film, this idea and this particular theme?
Why the violence?
Why can’t we all just get along and love each other and play nice?
Why didn’t we make a heartwarming cartoon?…
Last year, Darwin was lucky enough to be invited to multiple festivals, to accompany our film DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE and attend the festival screenings. One of those festivals awarded us a special mention. Another gifted us an award for best narrative. And then, back in December, I found myself attending a screening of it, to celebrate that award. it was then that I decided to try and organise some thoughts about the creation of the film, from first idea to film poster, to try and provide Darwin with some talking points – figuring that it might help when faced with a few questions from those attending the screenings. This is essentially a more organised form of what we had discussed when approaching the idea for the project and before Darwin first attended a screening and had to talk about the finished film.
Here’s what Surprised Lee wanted to say when he stood on stage, on the 20th Dec 2019, but his mind went blank when the mic was pressed into a hand:
“Domestic violence is a huge problem. A problem of much significance. An epidemic in some countries. Somewhere in the world, every hour of every day, domestic violence is being committed – usually by men. Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. Every 9 seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten in the US. Even in Spain! Especially here, judging by the news this morning when another poor woman lost her life in Barcelona. Even those who work to help the victims of abuse are themselves often targeted by the same perpetrators – who are looking for another outlet for their anger. It is real. It is an epidemic. it’s a tragic reality.
DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE, in some ways, seems over the top. Too violent? We apologise if anyone is traumatised by the themes and violent content / actions in the film. However, it is inspired by a true story and in many ways is not extreme enough! We had a tough battle finding the right level – enough to shock and provoke a reaction, but when to hold back for fear of losing the audience entirely? Realistic drama was definitely what we felt was needed.
We very much wanted to make this film to highlight this problem, to help open or even provoke a debate about the subject and for that debate to look for solutions to prevent such violence from ever being committed again.
We feel that not enough is being done to combat domestic violence and to help the victims and to fund those organisations who work on behalf of the victims. We only wish we could have had more budget, time, equipment and skill, to make it even more impressive and more impactful in order for the film to be a better catalyst for change. But thanks to our director and wonderful team, we have done the best we have, with the limited budget we had, time allowed and with a collective passion to try and change in the world in some small way.
The black dot on the poster, is a symbol – a cry for help – that has been used by abused women to ask for help, when a careless word or message may otherwise alert their abusive partner. Typically it is drawn on the hand. We want women in such situations to reach out and seek help. We want others who suspect possible crimes to seek help on their behalf, all without endangering their lives. But we also don’t want to endanger them by making the symbol too popular, so we did not include it in the actual film: https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-34326137 – there is some debate about this symbol alone and whether it helps or hurts? But the point is that victims need to find a way to ask for help. Somehow. Your lives are not without worth. You are important. Your story must be shared!
And hopefully, someone who sees this film might know someone in a similar situation and be willing to help rescue their friend from such abuse. Or simply pass the message of the film to another and create a small wave of change and avert something potentially much worse.
It’s not about the film per se. But the message needs to be passed on. Violence is not ok. Abuse must be treated like the epidemic it is, and we must find a social vaccine. We need to change.
Thanks for watching. And sorry for anyone this may have traumatised. “
So hopefully if anyone does get to see the film, and comes hunting here as to answers to the “whys” / those questions, they will find something here that helps…. I definitely think that it is a theme that requires more exploration….
And if anyone is connected with an organisation that is dealing with such abuse and wants to consider partnering with us to help spread the message, we would love to hear from you.
If you want to view a throwback to the DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE Premiere from earliest this year in May, play the video below and you might just catch a glance of me suddenly being interviewed… as well as Darwin, and see some of the cast too:
And the total so far is 11 laurels, as it just made last selection and Semi-Finalist at the Los Angeles CineFest Film Festival in California. Not bad at all! In fact a friend might say it’s “pretty, pretty good.” 😉
Congrats to Darwin and the entire team. Not a bad start to the weekend. 🙂
I just wanted to stop by briefly to share some news about DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE (DFTB), the short film I wrote for director Darwin Reina.
We’ve received a special mention from the Med-Limes festival in Salerno, Italy – which as I understand it is like a ‘honourable mention’, meaning that you’re not in the normal selection / winners, but the film is worthy “… of exceptional merit but not deserving of top honours” – enough to celebrate it’s contribution. Hopefully this was because of the message behind the film – because we want to show the horror of domestic abuse, so that we can help to prevent it.
Congrats to Darwin Reina, the producers, entire cast and crew.
The film has already exceeded our expectations. A win would also be very welcome. But this is already better than we hoped for. Nice.
In other news, I’ve been quiet, because I’ve been working away on MR CLEAN in the rare moments when I get any free time. So far I’m playing with / refining the edit of a trailer and already had some very positive feedback on it. As soon as I’m happy with the final version of the trailer, and then completed post production on it (colour grading, score and sound mix), I will indeed share. I’m keen to get to that point, so that I can move back onto editing the actual film.
I’ve never edited a trailer before. It’s been a valuable learning experience. This is my third short film and I’ve never gotten to this point before.
Anyway, enough wittering. Thanks again for stopping by Cherished Reader.
Hello folks! Hope you’re all doing well. Just thought I’d guiltily stop by and share what’s going on – to reassure you that things are indeed going on, albeit slowly.
If you care for excuses, I have a pretty good one for being fairly quiet – with having the builders in for a week, working on my house and then my 20 year old, senile cat, deciding to go missing for 5 days until we tracked him down 2.5km away from home. All that running around, flyering and searching for him etc was pretty exhausting. He’s back now, safe and I think that I’ve almost recovered. Almost.
Exhausted cat is exausted
DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE news:
DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE has made it into three film festivals – nice. That in itself is great. It would be nice to win, but even being selected is a great honour.
We’re having the premiere this month in Barcelona and Darwin and I will be in attendance. 🙂 The film will be shown on the 15th May.
We’ll also be doing a recce for a future untitled film, to be shot in Barcelona.
And here’s the invitation:
Invitation DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE premiere
MR CLEAN news:
The edit is still under way. it’s been hard to find time, but I’ve averaged about 30-60 mins a day of editing for the last month, despite my busy workload.
I’ve made it to day 4 of the 4-day shoot footage. So I am nearling the end of the rough assembly stage. So there is light at the end of the tunnel. And I have two more scenes to do a rough assembly on.
Next I have to do a complete rough assembly of the complete short film. And try and play around with it. That will be another whole journey in itself.
I already know a couple of shots I’d love to get if a reshoot was called for. But so far I think I can work with what I have, even if it doesn’t match up to what I wanted.
But perhaps I should get on with a trailer for the film, so you can begin to discover what the fuss is about?
But that’s enough from me. I need to crack on. I can hear MR CLEAN getting impatient for his next victim…
But I was even more surprised to find out that as part of the festival process you can now rent all of the films, for a small fee, including ours! Here is the link and it’s open to anyone for one week!! And please, please, please vote for us!