LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR
How many times do I have to go online and witness the increasing amount of news stories and social media posts about teenagers committing suicide?
Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 3,041 suicide attempts by young people grades 9-12. On top of that, online bullying has become such a vicious, and regular reality that it has created an international epidemic. The number of kids taking their own lives is increasing every day, and what’s even more shocking is that there doing it live, on social media.
What was it that pushed these kids to such an extreme end? What drove them to do it so publicly? It was those questions that hit me to my core. I had no choice but to take action and write. That’s how #WhenTodayEnds was born.
My driving force in writing and directing, whether in film or theatre, is to take on topics that need to be talked about, that need a voice, and I feel like #WhenTodayEnds is one of the stories. I knew this film couldn’t be conventional and I wanted it to feel as real as possible. I wanted the audience to question whether these were actually real kids, documenting a day in their lives and posting it to social media. In order to maintain the integrity of that storytelling device, we used different cameras for each storyline, shot them separately, over the course of a year, and the majority of the time, the actors were also the camera operators. My goal was to capture these super intense performances in very long shots with no cuts. I had to keep the audience engaged and invested in the lives of these 4 kids relying purely on the performances.
What drives me as an artist is to capture raw and honest emotion - to make an audience feel something deeply. Part of that craft is picking the right fearless actors who aren’t afraid to go to the depths of their soul, and to be completely vulnerable. I rehearsed each actor separately for months, diving into the psyche of these characters, also releasing any blocks that would stop the actors from telling these stories. The actors had to have the characters so ingrained in them so that they would be able to operate the camera without losing focus.
It is my hope that when people see #WhenTodayEnds they gain a new perspective but more importantly put a face behind the statistics. I believe that social media was created to connect us all, but it has disconnected us, and I hope that this film will bring us back together.