Letter To Survivors
My name is Mike Stutz and
I'm the director of Don't Change the Subject.
My mother killed herself three days before my twelfth birthday and I
was the one who found her and tried to revive her. My stepmother found
her father three days before her birthday and held his head in the car
on the way to the hospital after he had shot himself. She and I never
talked about it when I was a kid. So last year, as she was dying of
cancer, she and I decided I should make a movie that would draw as much
attention to the subject as possible. I gathered together all sorts of
folks from all different backgrounds, survivors, people who had
attempted, creative artists of all different kinds, and asked them how
they would approach it. As a comedy writer myself I had always taken my
own experience and translated into the language I knew, comedy. I guess
what I'm trying to do with the movie is to say "okay if you won't have
a conversation about suicide how else can we approach it?" Maybe dance?
Maybe theater? Maybe for some weird, dark souls like myself, even
We're reaching out beyond the suicide community for college kids,
twenty-somethings, anyone who thinks they aren't a part of the
community even if they themselves may have suicidal thoughts all the
time or may have even had someone they know die at their own hand. It's
amazing just how silent the media and general public are about the
subject. There are quiet cliches thrown around but very rarely will the
media go beyond that to dig into the how, what, why of the subject and
actually try to help educate people about how to deal with it
themselves or with friends or family.
Now in reaching out with
more provocative, non-traditional material we do risk offending or
distressing some in the suicide community. That's the last thing I want
to do to be sure. I absolutely understand there are folks who just
aren't going to be enthused at all about a movie like this. But I truly
in my heart feel that there are also those folks out there, like me
when I was younger, who would really benefit from this conversation and
wouldn't be a part of it if it were handled in a more traditional way.
I never want to cause any
survivor any trouble with my work. I wish you nothing but good feelings
and recovery. Please know that though it's very possible I may be
misguided in my view, I did this film to reach out, to spur
conversation (even if that's disagreement) and to help people end the
terrible tragedy that is suicide.
Don't Change the Subject