A daughter, struggling with mental health, is trying to cope with the death of her mother.
A father, recently released from prison, struggles to raise his teenage daughter as a single parent.
The Inquisitive is an independent British film that focuses on the extremely serious subject matter of teenage suicide and mental illness. The film is now working with multiple charities and organisations to bring more awareness to these issues and help make people understand why teenagers are suffering with such despair.
As with any film, we are in need of funding to help get it made. In 30-days, The Inquisitive is trying to raise £100,000 in order to give us the budget we need to make the film. We have budgeted accordingly and know there is a way we can make this a reality, however if we surpass this target, then we can make the film even bigger, better and draw in more famous faces to give the film the outreach it deserves so we can help raise even more awareness of these issues.
My name is Kelvin Richards, I am the writer/director of The Inquisitive and passionately believe that this film needs to be made. I appreciate there have been, and am sure will be, films about teenage mental health and suicide – but not like this. From the first day of deciding we were going to make this our next feature film, the team agreed the film couldn’t be ‘just another film about teenage suicide’, it had to be more than that, in both the way we make it and in the way we use it to help others. I want the film to have a lasting legacy that positively impacts the issues we focus on, and so we are teaming up with as many supporters as we can to help raise awareness of these issues and in-turn raise awareness for these organisations who’s aims are to help people struggling with mental health, or prevent those who sadly want to take their own lives. Two charities that have been a great asset to our cause have been The OLLIE Foundation (https://theolliefoundation.org/) and The Grace Dear Trust (https://thegracedeartrust.co.uk/) who have been of great help and I hope anyone in need can benefit from the services they offer for suicide prevention and mental health.
Before we begin, if this already sounds like a project you want to support then please feel free to find out more information and donate here – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kelvinrichards/the-inquisitive – we truly appreciate any donation you can afford to help us make this film.
The aim of The Inquisitive isn’t to cure teenage mental health issues, or suddenly stop the vast amount of teenage suicides the UK experiences every year. The aim is to raise awareness of these issues and try to help people who were unaware, appreciate and understand why certain teenagers feel the way they do, or choose to end their lives – and most importantly, get family and friends openly talking about these issues.
The film focuses on the story of Selena, a 15 year old girl who has lost her mother to cancer and is now being raised by her father who has been in prison for her entire life. But we don’t see Selena’s story right away, instead, we watch the story unfold through the eyes of Selena’s father, Paul. A man in his early thirties who is struggling to find a job and raise his teenage daughter. He tries his hardest to be a father and he does eventually find a job so we begin to get sidetracked by his story, and just as his story reaches its resolution, he comes home one night to find a suicide note from his daughter and later finds her body, having successfully carried out the horrific act. He, nor us as the audience can believe what is happening. Through experiencing the story alongside Paul, we ourselves have experienced how easy it is to miss the signs. “Every time we saw her, she was fine! She even cracks jokes! So why would she take her own life?”
Only now do we reveal Selena’s story. Only now do we get to experience her suffering. Only now, it’s too late.
I want the audience to experience the sheer helplessness family members experience in these tragic circumstances, and how the audience themselves even missed the signs whilst watching a film. So we now helplessly watch the same events unfold, but through the eyes of a teenage girl.
I feel this is the most powerful way of telling the story and what sets The Inquisitive apart. By using cinematic techniques we will make the film as immersive as possible to help audiences truly appreciate, understand and experience these issues. Selena’s character will break down social misconceptions and stereotypes. Although they are young, teenagers are not stupid. They know full-well the emotions they are feeling and we, as a society, need to come away from this mentality of “oh it’s just their hormones”, “It’s puppy love” or “It’s just teen drama” because that in its own right, is part of the problem. Selena doesn’t take her own life because of petty issues like ‘puppy love’ or because she’s ‘just sad today’, she thinks nihilistic thoughts. Suicidal ideologies on the pointlessness of life. For a teenager, or anyone for that matter, to take their own life, it’s not simply because they have a mental illness, it’s not simply just an impulse decision, it’s not simply because they are depressed, it’s because they have decided life is not worth living anymore. It is the peak of existential thought, and yet teenagers who have taken, or have tried to take their own life, are just seen as ‘stupid’. Far from it. The issue is, they aren’t talking about these thoughts, they are keeping them bottled up and so it spreads like a virus, poisoning their minds to the point where they can see no alternative but to end everything. Or if they are talking about it, they are struggling to get the help they need because families aren’t informed enough on what to do in these situations – and from there is a very vicious cycle that unfortunately sees almost 300 teenagers per year killing themselves.
So if we can make The Inquisitive, raise awareness of, and get people talking about these issues, then we as filmmakers will have achieved our vision of the film.
If you too believe in what we are trying to achieve then we would be truly grateful for any donation you can afford, all donations can be submitted on our funding campaign page here – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kelvinrichards/the-inquisitive – we have until the 10th November to raise £100,000 so every donation counts. From myself and all of the team, a huge thank you for taking the time to read this article.