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‘Surviving Suicide’ A Story of Hope and Resilience

Surviving Suicide, a movie by award-winning filmmaker Sasha-Gay Lewis, will be the featured film screened at a conversation series On Hope Resilience and Recovery, 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, at Santa Barbara High School, 720 Anapamu St.


The program is organized by the Santa Barbara Response Network in collaboration with the Glendon Association and Santa Barbara High School. It is moderated by Vicky Nguyen KEYT News reporter and is a bilingual event.

Surviving Suicide is a character-driven documentary that tells the story of suicide survivor Anthony Rodriguez.

A former gang leader and now chief operating officer of the Santa Barbara Response Network, Rodriguez has transformed his personal struggles into strength.

He credits his painful past as the catalyst that allowed him to find his purpose of mentoring and providing psychological aid to those who are struggling.

“I used to regret my past a lot, but now it's made me the person I am and I think if I didn’t go through those things I wouldn’t be able to help as many kids and families, so I don’t regret it," Rodriguez said.

"I’m just grateful to have a second chance and I hope that I can save other lives," he said.

Lewis, the film's director, said the purpose of the film is to humanize and empower those who have been shamed into silence while showing those who are considering suicide that they are not alone and help is available.

“Suicide is not an easy topic to discuss and as a society, we just don't know how to approach it I strongly believe that an honest conversation with a suicide survivor can reveal so much more than we think we know," Lewis said.

"The simple act of getting people to talk about their experiences can save lives. I hope this series will provide a safe space for healing, empathy, and understanding,” Lewis said.

Born in Jamaica, Lewis has been writing and producing for TV and radio for more than 10 years. As a filmmaker, she has written, produced and directed several short documentaries in Jamaica, Belize and the U.S.

Her award-winning short documentary The Incursion is an emotional film that highlights the 2010 government raid on the inner-city community of Tivoli Gardens in Jamaica that left more than 150 people dead.

Lewis lives in Los Angeles.

— Jina Carvalho for Glendon Association.


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