Mariel Hemingway Anti-suicide
November 19, 2011 by staff
For the past decade, the actress has been busy promoting suicide awareness and speaking on how lifestyle choices can affect mental well-being. She’ll do just about anything to prevent a suicide. That’s why her appearance in the cult film sensation “Archie’s Final Project” — formerly known as “My Suicide” — comes as no surprise.
“There’s been at least seven suicides in my family, so obviously appearing in the film had great significance for me,” Hemingway said in a recent interview.
Her older sister, Margaux, and famed novelist grandfather, Ernest, are among her losses. While Hemingway attributes their deaths partly to chemical imbalance, she blames them mostly on lifestyle choices.
“Creative families such as the Hemingway’s tend to have substance abuse, they tend to have depression, and all kinds of things,” Hemingway said. But she added, “There are lifestyle choices you can make that can at least lessen the severity.”
As for the film, “Archie’s Final Project” deals with teen suicide though the irreverent lens of a disenfranchised high school student. Rather than presenting it as a drama, the film takes a cheeky, comedic approach. But underneath those laughs lies a serious film that attempts to raise awareness.
And it’s succeeding. Through social media, the film has prompted a national conversation about the signs of teen suicide and how to deal with them, including the IamAnArchie awareness and prevention campaign.
Directed and co-written by David Lee Miller, the film tells the story of Archibald Williams (Gabriel Sunday), who announces that his final school video project will be filming his own suicide. Before long, Archie captures more attention than he could have ever imagined.
Through cynical dialogue, Archie recounts the rather clueless suicide interventions he receives, including a guidance counselor who thinks a lollipop can fix the problem.
Hemingway feels it’s important to tackle the subject this way, especially when given its teenage audience.
“Because there’s a lack of a sense of future when you’re that age, there seems to be this very dramatic response that life doesn’t seem to make sense,” Hemingway said.
Recently, there’s been increased attention paid to teenage abuse problems, including an anti-bullying campaign featuring celebrities and athletes. “Archie’s Final Project” sets out to deliver the same message, but with a different tone.
The film’s snappy dialogue, animation, and quick cuts may be regarded by some as unconventional, yet it speaks fluently to its target audience. Conceivably, every teenager could be Archie, just as everyone can know an Archie.
The 21-year old Sunday, who also co-wrote and edited the film, plays the title character. He made the film when he was 17, and feels its appeal lies in its realistic depiction of teens and their struggles. “Movies and mainstream media treat teens as emotionless and clueless … but this film honestly portrays them,” Sunday said.
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