The Girl on the Bridge (AU - M)

In a word: Confronting

Jazz Thornton The Girl On The Bridge 

Jazz Thornton in the documentary 'The Girl on the Bridge'.

It was always going to be a risky project. Twenty-five-year-old New Zealand film-maker Jazz Thornton, the co-founder of mental health charity, Voices of Hope, wanted to create a series of videos for the internet which told the story of her friend Jess, who took her own life five years ago.

The making of the five part series, called Jessica's Tree, involved much mental and emotional wrestling as Jazz, herself a survivor of childhood abuse who had made some 14 attempts on her own life in the past, attempted to tell Jess' story without sensationalising or minimalising it in such a way that it could speak to those going through similar struggles.

"[The Girl on the Bridge] powerfully documents what drove Jazz to the task of making the series and the struggles she went through in trying to do justice to her friend's story, to tell one of the many stories 'behind the statistics'. All with the aim of - in words she repeats throughout the documentary - helping people struggling with mental health issues to 'stop surviving and start fighting'."

The series was eventually released to critical acclaim and went on to garner a swag of awards nationally and internationally.

This film, The Girl on the Bridge, charts the story of the making of the series and provides a behind-the-scenes look at the issues Jazz and the production team who supported her faced as they worked on the project.

Directed by award-winning New Zealand film-maker Leanne Pooley, The Girl on the Bridge follows Thornton's project from conception to its premiere in front of Jess' family powerfully.

It powerfully documents what drove Jazz to the task of making the series and the struggles she went through in trying to do justice to her friend's story, to tell one of the many stories "behind the statistics". All with the aim of - in words she repeats throughout the documentary - helping people struggling with mental health issues to "stop surviving and start fighting".

The documentary provides an up close view of the struggle to keep people battling mental health issues alive and several times in the documentary, Jazz is interrupted by someone contacting her to report that they're looking to end their life. It also lays bare some of the frustrations people like Jazz can face trying to work with a system that often seems to let them down.

The Girl on the Bridge - and the series Jessica's Tree - shed light on a subject that too many people still shy away from confronting. May its message be heard.

To find out where you can watch 'The Girl on the Bridge', head to www.thegirlonthebridgefilm.com.au.

In Australia, people looking for help or information can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.