This blog was featured on 08/30/2016
Return to Zero—Championing Indies

This post is putting the horse before the cart in a way. On Thursday, May 23, the following post went out in the She Writes newsletter:

If you lost your baby mere weeks before it was to be born, what would you do? Perhaps more importantly, what would it do to you?

Return to Zero is the first film ever created with stillbirth as its central theme. It has an amazing cast (Minnie Driver, Paul Adelstein, Alfred Molina, Kathy Baker, and more), but it's still lacking distribution. So, in an effort to get this amazing film--based on a true story--into theaters, we here at She Writes are asking you not for money, but for a promise: that you will go to see it opening weekend when it shows in your community. Will you make the pledge to help this important film get off the ground? Click here to get an inside look at the movie--and then click here to make the pledge!

And now for a bit of context and why I care about this film. After Sean Hanish, the writer and director of this film, went through the experience of losing his full-term son in utero just days before the baby’s due date, he made a commitment to himself that he would write this story. But it’s not the kind of story that’s easy to process, or that screams "blockbuster." 

Sean and his wife lost their son, Norbert, in 2005. I started working with Sean in 2008. Back then he was working on another script, one I hope will someday see the light of day as well. But always in the back of his mind was this story of loss, the hard story he knew would be gut-wrenching and excruciating to write, but the story he had to write.

Sean’s journey to write this film is one that many She Writers can relate to. He quit his job to pursue his dream to get the film made. No one rallied behind it. No one greenlighted it. No studio, big or small, jumped on board to say they thought it was a great idea. Far from it. If anything this film would be a downer, a story about losing a child before it was born and what happens to a couple in the wake of tragedy.

It was a slow unfolding of support, starting with Alfred Molina and building a lot of steam once Minnie Driver signed on for the lead role. I have championed this story from Day 1 for its raw authenticity and honesty. I am honored now to be a team leader on the film. I have donated money to the Kickstarter campaign twice and will continue to work in whatever ways I can to bring awareness about the film to a larger audience. I have not experienced child loss, but I know so many women who have, and I understand that it’s an issue that has not been given enough attention in our culture.

This film is deeply personal and gripping and moving. It’s a woman’s story, with a strong lead in Minnie Driver. It's also a success story, in that Sean never gave up on his dream of seeing this film through to completion. I hope that the She Writes community can play a small role in helping this film get distribution. Film, just like publishing, is a tough tough industry. The idea that a tragic story is something people won’t turn out for is a concept that’s carried through both industries, and it makes me hate the term “commercial.” If the truth of what we experience is limited and stifled and placed in a box, then most of what trickles down to us—in books and in films—is going to be limited and stifled and placed in a box.

I’m excited here to be in the position to be a change agent. Please sign the Return to Zero pledge, which simply states that you will go out and see the movie if it makes it to your local theater. We can take a stand and demand to see stories that mirror our own lives. And if you’re a person who’s been personally impacted by child loss—or simply want to support the film because, like me, you’re inspired by what Sean is doing—please consider becoming a local team leader. Details are here.

Thanks for joining me in support of Return to Zero.

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