Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"Suicide Comedy"

"We just hope they don't cause too many accidents,"

What could a partner in an indie film company that specializes in horror films be talking about?

The suicide comedy "Wristcutters: A Love Story" will be released in August, with a marketing campaign featuring cardboard cutouts of characters jumping off a bridge, electrocuting and hanging themselves. The signage will be placed on telephone poles and trees in major markets beginning next month.

What the “heck”. This “information” from Rueters raises a number of questions in my head. Suicide “comedy”? Yes, I remember Harold and Maude, but they were faux suicides. “Cardboard cutouts” “hanging” around depicting folks dying by suicide. That doesn’t seem like a real cool idea to me.

I am not big on suppressing advertising, I can usually ignore the stuff I choose to, but this is way over the top. In that spirit I pass this along:

Dear friends,
We need your help. AfterDark Films plans to release a Lionsgate Entertainment movie this summer called Wristcutters: A Love Story. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last year to some acclaim. Mental Health America and its national partners have not yet been able to view the film and cannot yet share any detail on the content.
This month, however, AfterDark will launch an alarming “shock and awe” advertising campaign featuring cutouts of the movie characters in the states in which they kill themselves (e.g., jumping off bridges and electrocuting and hanging themselves). These signs will hang from telephone poles and trees in communities nationwide.
Interestingly enough, recent outrage around the advertising campaign of another one of the companies’ films, Captivity, forced AfterDark to remove billboards that showed graphic images of women, being kidnapped, confined, tortured and killed.
On March 12, Mental Health America and 13 of its national colleagues signed a joint letter to AfterDark and Lionsgate, asking the companies to drop Wristcutters’ marketing campaign. Our letters and calls have gone unanswered by AfterDark. Lionsgate claims they have nothing to do with marketing decisions.
You Can Help stop the Wristcutters suicide marketing campaign.
Send a handwritten or typed letter to Lionsgate and AfterDark demanding they pull the marketing campaign. Use the messages and contact information below.
Send a letter to your mayor alerting him of the film’s marketing campaign and asking that he or she not allow the images in your community.
Reach out to video rental stores who will receive the film and its marketing materials shortly after the movie’s theatrical release asking that they not display the film’s marketing materials.
Send this email to your colleagues, friends and family.
Suggested messages:
The planned marketing campaign for Wristcutters, which features graphic depictions of suicide, is both alarming and dangerous.
Suicide is NOT entertainment. With more than 30,000 suicides and 1.4 million suicide attempts in the United States each year, it is a national crisis and tragedy.
AfterDark must modify the planned marketing campaign for Wristcutters before rolling it out.
Scientific evidence shows that portrayals of suicide pose the very real danger of ‘suicide contagion,’ the clinical term for ‘copy cat’ suicides.
Images of suicide are cruel and offensive to people who have contemplated or attempted suicide or to those who have lost family or friends to suicide.
This is not an issue of “political correctness” this is an issue of public health.
Please direct letters to:
Mr. Jon Feltheimer
CEO & Co-Chairman
Lionsgate Entertainment Corporation
2700 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Office: 310- 449-9200
Fax: 310- 255-3870
Mr. Courtney Solomon
AfterDark Films
2161 N. Bronson Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90068
Office: 323-468-9888
If your email is returned because of the companies’ mailboxes are full, please consider calling, mailing or faxing your letter. It’s important that our voice be heard! And if their mailboxes overflow, that means we are being heard loud and clear.
To read the letter Mental Health America and its national colleagues sent to Lionsgate and AfterDark, visit
If you have any questions, contact Heather Cobb, senior director of media relations, at (703) 797-2588.
Please remember to forward this message to your friends!

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