Scottish date for Denise Welch’s mental health film

Denise Welch stars in Black Eyed Susan, which tackles the subject of suicide and has been chosen to be screened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Denise Welch stars in Black Eyed Susan, which tackles the subject of suicide and has been chosen to be screened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
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An award-winning short film about depression starring former Loose Women star Denise Welch has been chosen to be screened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Black Eyed Susan, which tackles the taboo subject of suicide, won a best short drama award on its premiere at Silicon Beach Film Festival in California.

The psychological thriller, written and directed by Nick Rowntree, is about a woman suffering with depression who must confront her demons, which come to her in the shape of a teenage boy who urges her to commit suicide.

Former Coronation Street star Welch has spoken previously about her 28-year battle with clinical depression and wanted to bring the issue of mental illness into the spotlight.

Her youngest son Louis Healy stars alongside Kacey Ainsworth and Angela Lonsdale. Denise’s eldest son, Matthew Healy – lead singer of The 1975 – wrote the soundtrack.

She said: “No two people have exactly the same experience but I never felt I’d seen mine so this was a bit of a passion project.

“I’d always wanted to make a short film – a drama, although I may consider doing a documentary too.

“It has a very strong mental health message based on an episode of my own depression.”

Speaking about her illness openly on television recently Welch, 58, has been supporting the Heads Together campaign which is backed by Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, with the aim of getting people to talk about psychological problems.

Welch’s husband Lincoln Townley had also been the executive producer on the film and she admitted having nerves before shooting it.

She added: “I did get a bit nervy before I did it.

“It’s a bit like some people who love a drink aren’t good at playing drunks, probably because they can’t remember it, and I thought: am I going to be able to portray my depression truly?

“It has been a long time I’ve had this. My eldest son is 28 and my depression started as postnatal.

“Many women who have postnatal will make a full recovery, unfortunately I didn’t. Many people are speaking out thankfully as I felt like a lone voice.”

Rowntree, who directed the short film said it was a “tremendous thrill” to be selected for the film festival.

He said: “It is such an incredible honour to have my short film Black Eyed Susan officially selected by the Edinburgh International Film Festival. It is truly one of the prestige film festivals of the world and to think that my film, my first film no less, is now included in the roll call of genuinely great films to have premiered here over the years is quite overwhelming.

“Even on a personal level it’s a tremendous thrill that the Scottish have embraced Black Eyed Susan so much. I have many ties to Scotland; my partner is from Tayport and I have made many friends there and in Dundee.

“If Black Eyed Susan doesn’t play in another festival for the rest of the year, it’s played in Edinburgh and that is a great, great honour for me.”

Black Eyed Susan will be screened at Cineworld in Edinburgh on Friday at 6pm