Channel 4 press release about the screening of the Finding Mike documentary. I’d love to hear what you think of it. I think it’s an amazing story and provided a great opportunity to break down some of the barriers around mental health and suicide.
On Monday 4 May, at the start of election week, Channel 4 will broadcast The Stranger on The Bridge, the inspirational true story of one man’s search for the stranger who persuaded him not to leap over the railings of Waterloo Bridge to his death.
Independent filmmakers Postcard Productions, the team behind the hugely successful 2014 ‘Finding Mike’ social media campaign at the heart of the film, believe it is a timely reminder of the need for greater support for those living with mental illness. According to the charity Rethink Mental Illness as many as one in four people in England alone are affected.
The Stranger on the Bridge tells the moving story of Jonny Benjamin. Having been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder shortly beforehand, Jonny stood on London’s Waterloo Bridge in January 2008 and prepared to leap over the railings. A passing stranger saw Jonny and persuaded him not to take his own life. Jonny was taken to hospital and didn’t see the stranger again but was determined to find him and thank him for what he did.
The ‘Finding Mike’ campaign, launched by London-based independent filmmakers Postcard Productions and Rethink Mental Illness in 2014, supported by the hashtag #findmike, reached over 300 million people worldwide.
Hollywood studios have expressed an interest in this powerful story of how one distraught young man’s life was changed forever thanks to a passing Samaritan. The Stranger on the Bridge charts the story of Jonny’s determination to find ‘Mike’, the incredible public reaction to the campaign, and the emotional reunion with Neil Laybourn – the man who saved his life.
Sam Forsdike at Postcard Productions, said:
“When we set out to help Jonny find Mike, we saw the opportunity to bring one man’s powerful story to a wider audience. It’s exploded in a way we never expected. In keeping with our ethos we wanted the film to have real social impact as well as being an incredible real-life story. We’re a small, independent film production company but by partnering with a leading charity and utilising the power of social media, our film has managed to shine a much-needed light on the lives of people who are crippled by mental illness.
“The message from this film is simple but powerful: no-one suffering from mental illness should feel as though their only option is to suffer in silence. Last year we had politicians like Nick Clegg getting behind the #findmike campaign. It was incredible, but what we really need to see from whoever wins the Election is real commitment to breaking down the stigma that still surrounds illnesses like schizophrenia.
“We’ve been able to engage people who might otherwise not think twice about those affected by mental illness. When Jonny stood on Waterloo Bridge it was a simple, selfless but life-changing act of kindness from a stranger that provided him with an alternative to ending his life. We’ve been amazed at the way the story has already resonated with people around the world and the Channel 4 broadcast will bring it to an even bigger audience.”
- The Stranger on the Bridge will be broadcast on Channel 4 on Monday 4 May, at 9pm.
- The film was directed and edited by Postcard Productions.
- Director of Photography, Franklin Dow, is Oscar and BAFTA nominated and is a runner up at the Sundance Film Festival.
- Colourist is Oscar and BAFTA nominated Peta Ridley.
- Music and sound design studio Echoic Audio composed part of the soundtrack.
- The film received a preview screening at BAFTA on 14 April.