The Girl On The Bridge
“Our generation is dying, we’re the ones that are losing our friends, our brothers, our sisters; so we’re the ones that have to stand up and solve it because no one else is going to.” - Jazz Thornton
The Girl On The Bridge is a feature documentary directed by award winning New Zealand filmmaker Leanne Pooley. It is a glimpse into a world few of us comprehend and a response to our collective anguish about the suicide crisis in our communities and our desire to “do something”.
Twenty-two year old Jazz Thornton survived multiple suicide attempts and is now taking on a system she believes is failing her generation. After founding her own charity to support young people struggling as she once did, she’s put herself through film school to learn the skills she needs to communicate. She tells stories about survivors who have been through hell and made it back.
But not everyone makes it and although Jazz has survived she’s lost a lot of friends, including sixteen-year-old Jess.
Jazz promised Jess she would tell her story and The Girl On The Bridge follows her as she fulfils that promise. Jazz and Jess shared almost identical lives. They both struggled with crushing demons and they both fought to survive in a world where mental illness and suicidal tendencies are too often misunderstood. Jess’s death was painful and potentially catastrophic for Jazz and in The Girl On The Bridge she navigates the same feelings of guilt and grief that anyone touched by suicide endures.
Shot over a two year period, The Girl On The Bridge follows Jazz as she increasingly finds herself the face of the suicide epidemic unfolding around her. Young people and their families turn to her in desperation asking her to “save” them. She juggles the pressure of their expectations while doing all she can to change the societal prejudices that helped create the problem in the first place.
The Girl On The Bridge is the story of a young woman with the weight of a generation on her shoulders. Having survived her own struggles and dealing with the loss of her friend Jazz has irrefutable insight into a subject society has only begun to grapple with.
This is a film about hope. It’s a film about redemption. The Girl On The Bridge is a challenge to all of us to try to understand.
2020: New Zealand International Film Festival, North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival – Samuel Sprynczynatyk Storyteller Award for Best Feature Length Documentary