Early one February morning, after a decades-long struggle with bipolar disorder, Nina Leichter, a sixty-three year old mother of two, committed suicide by jumping out of a window. Being the wife of a New York State Senator, her death was reported on the radio, in newspapers, and on television. HERE ONE DAY picks up where the mainstream press left off. Shot by the winner of this year’s Excellence in Cinematography Award at The Sundance Film Festival, this unsensationalized, beautiful film paints a captivating, intimate portrait of those left behind.
Told from the point of view of Nina’s daughter, Director Kathy Leichter, and featuring Nina’s husband, son, sister, and grandchildren, HERE ONE DAY follows this family from 2004 to 2008 as they attempt to make sense of what happened and go on with their lives.
Verité scenes, interviews, super-8 footage, photographs, and exquisitely shot interiors and exteriors reveal the universal emotions of guilt, blame, rage, despair, humor and affection that the family experiences. Some family members think they have moved on but haven’t. Some want to move on but can’t. Some, like Nina’s grandchildren, don’t even know the full story. To tell them or not becomes a storyline, as does the role of family secrets, and how people live with loss in very different ways.
As the family reflects back on Nina’s life, this charismatic, mercurial woman comes alive. Her experience of the illness and its effect on others is also vividly portrayed. By film’s end, the family, who goes through struggles, conflicts and resolutions on-screen, is less broken, less traumatized, but still scarred and forever changed.
While HERE ONE DAY is about mental illness and suicide, all too common experiences that remain alarmingly taboo and dreadfully need more public discussion, it is also about holding on and letting go, the ever-changing parent/child relationship, and how our emotional experiences, not just our biology, get passed down from one generation to the next.
The film will be broadcast nationally and internationally and have an innovative community-based screening initiative that will train individuals who have bipolar disorder or who have had a suicide in their family to screen the film and facilitate discussions. Through this initiative, HERE ONE DAY will be screened, in partnership with a range of mental health organizations, in community centers, mental health clinics, educational institutions and the halls of policy and will include a comprehensive website with links to accurate mental health reportage, resources, and opportunities for users to form their own virtual communities of support.
HERE ONE DAY will be a bridge for people to find others with similar stories so that they can form a collective voice, not only dissolving isolation and contradicting stigma, but also creating a voice large and loud enough to change mental health policy and increase suicide awareness.
HERE ONE DAY is a fiscally sponsored project of WOMEN MAKE MOVIES, a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitates the production, promotion, distribution and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women.
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