A Derry film about mental health has been recognised at a film festival in Portugal.
‘DROP’ is a film about suicide and explores what makes someone contemplate taking their own life.
It was written and directed by well known Derry musician, John Deery. John’s younger brother, Matt, was assistant director on ‘DROP’.
John’s film came about as a result of his Masters in Design for Creative Practice at University of Ulster, Magee.
“I’ve always been interested in film and photography so when the opportunity came up to make a film for my masters I went for it.
“Raising awareness of mental health is something very important to me so I decided to make a film that looked at suicide and the name ‘DROP’ comes from the fact that so many people in Derry take their own lives on the Foyle Bridge,” he explained.
John is the leading man behind local band ‘John Deery and the Heads’ and last year the band recorded a song on an album which was used to educate and inform others about the importance of mental health.
“We spent a while storyboarding the film and once we were ready we started shooting with all local actors.
“My younger brother, Matt, has acting experienced. He has been in ‘Game of Thrones’ and a few other productions. Matt worked as an actor, producer and assistant director on ‘DROP’.
“It was a great experience for me personally because myself and Matt agreed on virtually everything to do with the film and if there was ever anything I was unsure of I was always able to talk to Matt about it,” he said.
A while after the final cut, John decided to enter ‘DROP’ into a competition at the Mind-Rights Film Festival in Lisbon in Portugal.
The Mind-Rights Film Festival is a small festival and international competition that focuses on showcasing cinematographic works that deal with mental health issues, in order to promote the rights of people with mental disorders.
“I couldn’t believe it when I was contacted by the festival organisers to tell me that my film had been short listed for the competition. I was absolutely over the moon. I’ve always wanted to make a film that had a solid message throughout and I think ‘DROP’ is that kind of film.”
John and Matt travelled to Lisbon earlier this month for the festival and the competition. Although the brothers did not scoop the top award they received a lot of positive feedback and were given an honourable mention.
“It was such an amazing experience. There were film-makers from all over the world at the festival and it was really nice to meet and talk with them,” said John.
“We didn’t win the award but many of the people who saw our film told us that they really liked it. It was an honour for me to be able to share my film at such a prestigious and important film festival.”
Although delighted with the film’s success, John refuses to get carried away. For him, there is something much more important.
“Our mental health is so important. People need to know that there is help and support out there and that there is life after bad mental health. It’s about opening up and talking. If ‘DROP’ encourages just one person to seek help with their mental health then that’s better than a million film festivals recognising it,” he said.
John is currently is discussions to have ‘DROP’ distributed in 2015.
For more information or to watch trailer for ‘DROP’ visit www.dropthemovie.co.uk