Director tackles own loss in film about grief after suicide

Orlando von Einsiedel (left)
Orlando von Einsiedel (left)
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The Academy-award winning documentary maker of The White Helmets has departed from war zones to cut a deeply personal film about his family’s journey to confront grief and loss following his brother’s suicide.

Rambling through the Scottish countryside, the film, showing at the Cameo today, follows director Orlando von Einsiedel and his family as they journey in remembrance of their brother and son Evelyn who took his own life over a decade ago.

Orlando von Einsiedel.

Orlando von Einsiedel.

The film, named simply “Evelyn”, tackles the challenging subjects of male suicide and the stigma attached to mental health problems, while addressing the power of walking and talking to help healing.

It approaches the subject of suicide through the eyes of the friends and family who were impacted by their painful loss.

After the death of his younger brother, director Orlando could barely even say his name.

The process of making this film – walking and talking about Evelyn – enabled Orlando and his family to confront their devastating past, and begin to heal.

He said: “When my brother died, I buried the bad memories that surrounded his illness and death, but in doing so, I also began to forget the good memories of times I shared with Evelyn.

“None of us – my youngest brother, Robin, my sister Gwennie, or me – could bring ourselves to talk about what happened.

“It took thirteen years for me to be able to say my brother’s name again.

“The process of making the film – of walking, and talking about Evelyn and what happened – was hugely cathartic and has helped set us on the path to healing.”

Worldwide, an estimated 20 million people attempt suicide every year and last year in Scotland of 680 registered suicides, 522 were male.

The shocking figures show that suicidal feelings are something many people may experience at some point and after Saturday’s screening at the Cameo Cinema there will be a question and answer session with the film’s director, in collaboration with The Campaign Against 
Living Miserably (CALM), The Ramblers and Andys Man 
Clubs.

CALM CEO Simon Gunning, said: “Suicide affects thousands of lives in the UK every year, and remains the single biggest killer of men under 45.

“Awareness and the prominence of this issue is growing and we believe that’s partly down to projects like Evelyn that force us to confront a subject which we, as a society, shy away from.

“We’re proud to be working alongside the Evelyn team and we believe the film will help people tragically bereaved by suicide.”

Following the screening, the audience will be invited to take inspiration from the film to join a “walk and talk” to get some fresh air, stretch their legs and to share their own experiences of bereavement or mental health challenges.

A spokeswoman added: “We really hope that the film may help other families and 
individuals who have experience with these issues, and have already had some amazing feedback from audiences who have seen the film at the BFI London Film Festival last week.”

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk