Whispers of Life is a short film about the interdependence of imagination and survival and their life-changing connection in Tom's story. Tom, a fifteen-year old gay teenager, meets Charles, a man in his sixties, after having been bullied by classmates on a park bench. Charles, having witnessed the bullying, approaches Tom afterward and initiates a conversation. When Tom frankly asks Charles if he has ever thought about suicide, Charles takes Tom on a fantastical journey into Tom's imagination that will forever change the course of Tom's future and ability to appreciate his life.
FILM AS A CULTURAL INTERVENTION – RELEVANCE FOR REALITY:
There have been several recent cultural interventions to challenge queer youth suicide in the U.S, such as The Trevor Project and the It Gets Better Project.
Our film, Whispers of Life, will act as an awareness-raising tool to focus attention on forms of prevention that can often start by individuals at the community level. For example, our film demonstrates that offering support by talking to others, which seems like a simplistic notion at first, can have a significant impact on oppressed peoples.
The promotional trailer notes that “suicidal behaviour is significantly higher in youth who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual, compared to those who identify as heterosexual (Zhao et al 2010; Haas et al 2011, 14). “Suicide attempts amongst high school student aged queer youth is reported to be two to seven times higher compared to those that describe themselves as heterosexual” (Haas et al 17; 2011 – multiple sources). There is also a “stronger independent predictor of suicide attempts in young males than in young females” (Garofalo et al 1999; Haas et al 17, 2011). In fact, “a recent meta-analysis of 25 international studies…concluded that the lifetime prevalence of suicide attempt in gay/bisexual males was about four times that of comparable heterosexual males” (King et al 2008; Haas et al 18, 2011).
However, providing this social scientific evidence does not mean to suggest that all or a majority of queer youth are suicidal or have attempted suicide. One of the main reasons to produce a short film about this significant topic is that films rarely deal with suicide on an explicit level. Consequently, we believe that this short film will help to break the silence and stigma surrounding queer youth suicide on a cinematic level to create additional opportunities for awareness and life-saving communication.
Whispers of Life also illustrates the importance of resilience on the level of imagination and fantasy. “Fantasy is what allows us to imagine ourselves and others otherwise; it establishes the possible in excess of the real; it points elsewhere, and when it is embodied, it brings the elsewhere home” (Butler 29). Film theorists and philosophers alike have explored the relationship between fantasy and trauma/oppression.
Our film’s intent to incorporate elements of fantasy and magic realism not only offers our protagonist, Tom, with a sense of hope, but it will provide audiences of the film with a stylized retreat from reality. In other words, the spectacular aesthetic beauty of the scene will act as a balance to the emotional gravity of the scene’s narrative at this point in the film. Tom’s ‘magical imagination’ eventually saves him from his thoughts of despair and sadness.
We need your assistance to finance this film. We intend to share Whispers of Life on a global level to inspire hope and tolerance in order to expand cultural interventions to prevent queer youth suicide, discrimination and bullying. Please consider donating in order to help us produce this important short film.
Your donations will help us cover these general production and post-production costs:
- equipment insurance
- equipment rentals (camera, electrics, sound etc.)
- catering for the crew/cast
- hair/make-up expenses
- transportation expenses for equipment and electrics
- colour timing/correction
- marketing & promotional expenses
We sincerely appreciate your support and financial investment in our project.
We will endeavor to deliver the specific perks for each categorized donation after the film has been completed. Please be patient during this process and feel free to email us at:
Our website is currently under construction.
For future updates, contact information and production highlights please follow us on Twitter @turbidlakepics @florianhalbedl @joshuamferguson
and Facebook - Turbid Lake Pictures
Florian Halbedl, Director, Whispers of Life
Co-Producer, Turbid Lake Pictures
Florian holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Ontario’s Film Studies’ program and is an Associate Member of the Director’s Guild of Canada. He began his professional career working as a production assistant on feature films such as Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, The A-Team and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Halbedl quickly realized that working in the assistant director department would expose him to the knowledge and energy of filmmaking and has been working as part of the assistant director teams on shows such as Supernatural, Once Upon a Time and most recently Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.
Joshua M. Ferguson, Producer, Whispers of Life
Co-Producer, Turbid Lake Pictures
Joshua is a current Ph.D student in the Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia. He completed his Master of Arts in Film Studies at the University of British Columbia in the Department of Theatre and Film. He is producing a documentary for his doctoral dissertation. For three years, Joshua was the director of a queer rights organization, Standing Against Queer Discrimination, which advocated against forms of queer discrimination.
Joshua has a clear vision to ignite global change on issues of sex and gender. He believes that the cinematic medium is a critical tool in fusing academia with creative practice in an effort to inspire tolerance and awareness of the diversity of queer gendered people. Film can act as a beacon of hope for those struggling with being marginalized while simultaneously deploying ways for us to find success in a global landscape that has limited ideas of cinematic representation.
Craig Powell, Cinematographer, Whispers of Life
Craig Powell entered the film business in the late nineties and since then has worked in the camera department as a camera assistant, camera operator and director of photography. Craig has been working as an A-camera operator steadily since 2002 on television series, feature films and television movies. He is currently working on the ABC network television series Once Upon A Time. Craig has also photographed several feature films, shorts and 2nd units for many projects.
Team on This Campaign:
Joshua Mark Ferguson
Joshua M. Ferguson
Director & Writer
Assistant Location Manager
First Assistant Director
Key Makeup Artist
Visual Effects Supervisor