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Year: 2009
UK: ICA / Bungalow Town Productions
Cast: Jez Lewis, Cass, Silly
Director: Jez Lewis
Country: UK
UK: 90 mins
UK Certificate: tbc
UK Release Date: 11 June 2010


Hebden Bridge is a small town of about 5,000 people nestled in the deep, long Calder Valley in the West Yorkshire Pennines. When best friend Emma died from a heroin overdose, director Jez Lewis returns home for her funeral and began to do some research into why so may of their friends and neighbours had all committed suicide. He discovered the suicide rate was dozens of times the national average, which left him dismayed and confused.

So why is this happening? After all, Hebden Bridge is not some long-deprived slum; it's a beautiful, quirky little town known for its creative and tolerant community. Nestled in a steep Pennine valley, it has a thriving tourist industry with no obvious down season and has variously been described as a rural idyll, Britain’s funkiest town, and the Hampstead of the North.

Tracking down his oldest friend, Cass, he is shocked by his debilitating state of health. Suffering from hepatitis and liver cirrhosis, he has just been given two years to live if he doesn’t stop drinking. Jez finds him in the local park with some drunk friends, and the most shocking aspect of it all is that nobody seems to think it at all unusual.

While the documentary begins just after Emma’s death, with Lewis’ attempt to lay old ghosts to rest, it is here on the park with Cass and his friend Silly that it progresses into a present tense human drama. Filmed over a year, the story is carried principally by Cass, who is in the process of changing his ways in a bid to prolong his life.

It’s an uplifting odyssey, giving a potentially disheartening story a positive core narrative. Although his friends tell him he will be next to die, Cass makes himself the unlikely hero of the piece, strapping himself to the mast and defying them all while they continue to succumb to their lethal temptations.

Official Selection London Film Festival 2009.
Official Selection Sheffield Documentary Film Festival 2009.
Official Selection Belfast Film Festival 2010.
Official Selection East End Film Festival 2010.
Nominated for best UK debut feature & best documentary feature.
Official Selection Manchester Kino Film Festival 2010.

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