Last year I was really pleased to connect with Sean Hanish, Director of the recently released independent film, Return To Zero. This is the first Hollywood film (starring Minnie Driver and Paul Adelstein) where the core storyline is about stillbirth. I’ve been really excited about the role that a film like this could play in helping to address shame and open up the conversation about stillbirth and child death in general.
This is a brave conversation for bereaved families and for those who’ve never experienced the death of a child, and Sean was concerned to offer support and leadership to help people to process the film, as well as their own unique story of loss, and to ensure that the conversation that the film opened up would go in the direction of togetherness, resilience, and hope. So I was honoured to take up the opportunity to help by creating a journal and discussion guide to accompany the film.
The guide can be used individually, as a personal reflective journal, or it can work well to take it to work through with a grief counsellor. I think there can be a lot of benefit in using it to facilitate discussions in grief support groups, and I love the idea of using it to support discussions in educational programs for helping professionals who support bereaved families.
After the world premier of the film on Lifetime TV on Saturday evening, I hopped online to discuss the movie and the film discussion guide with Carrie Fisher-Pascaul, Carlymarie, and Dr Karla Lacampo (the real doctor who helped Sean and his wife when their baby, Norbert, was stillborn). If you’re nervous about watching the film, watch this interview first, because we talk about ways to approach watching the film so that it’s helpful and healing, and I think there are quite a few useful perspectives shared in the interview, about how to navigate the very difficult grief journey. (Note that the interview only starts 10 or so minutes into the recording, so scroll ahead to that.)
The film is now available for pre-order, if you missed it on Lifetime TV this weekend.
And if you’re looking for some community discussion about the film, there are some useful discussions happening at the Return To Zero Facebook page.