Logline: Combating one of the highest teen suicide rates of the country, a man working as a crossing guard in a wealthy Silicon Valley town reflects on his experience.
Length: 6:10 min
Director: Kadri Koop
Producer: Kadri Koop
About the director and producer: Kadri Koop is an Estonian non-fiction filmmaker, cinematographer and editor based in the Bay Area. Before moving to the US, she studied and worked in various parts of Europe and Asia from Amsterdam to Singapore. Her previous work experience in narrative and documentary film extends from London to Beijing. Her films have screened at festivals from the US to the Middle East.
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): sales agents; buyers; distributors; film festival directors; journalists
Made in association with: Stanford University; Art & Art History Department
Release date: June 2015
Why did you make a film called THE CROSSING?
Originally from Estonia, I had just recently moved to Silicon Valley from Beijing when I stumbled on the topic of teenage suicides in Palo Alto. In other words, coming from Eastern Europe and having lived in Northern China for a couple of years, I had encountered harsh realities that did not compare to the one I was facing in the affluently sunny Palo Alto.
Since 2009, the city of Palo Alto has contracted crossing guards to stand in high-risk intersections preventing people from jumping at the tracks. I was compelled by the presence of the guards and wanted to ponder on their meaning by turning my lens on one of them.
I was also interested in making a film that would not focus on the narrative as much as recreating a certain experience. Thus, the film does not aim to explain why the suicides are happening, but invites one to experience a night shift of one of the guards.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
There are many films about suicide, but I don’t think any, or at least most, of them portray the unique perspective a person, whose job is to prevent people from taking their life.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Theme of life and death should speak to anyone as we come into this world without choosing to be, and many of us leave without choosing to not be.
How has the script and film evolved over the course of its development and production?
Perhaps the biggest development was the interview with the lead character Prentiss. All the time spent staring at the train tracks has enabled him to come to deeply insightful thoughts regarding the subject matter.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
The overall feedback as been positive. It’s been particularly rewarding to share the film with local audiences. I’ve had people coming up to me after a local film festival screening and thanked me for making the film.
I also had an interesting experience of screening the film in the same block with a number of narrative shorts at a festival. Naturally, it lead people to conclude that the suicide guard is a fictional character.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
It’s been somewhat surprising. Knowing that the topic is somewhat controversial in the local community, I’ve been expecting at least some upset responses. I’m glad, however, to see that people find the film to speak of the problem in a subtle-enough manner that they don’t have a problem with it.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I’d like to reach new audiences, who enjoy cinema that is not purely narrative-driven. In other words, the film as the potential to speak to not only people who are interested in a narrative treatment of the subject matter, but also those who are interested in the form of film, especially documentary.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
sales agents, buyers, distributors
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I’d like the film to demonstrate how documentary form can be other than only narrative-driven storytelling.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
How many guards does it take to prevent a suicide?
Would you like to add anything else?
I’m honored to be featured here along so many other talented female filmmakers!
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I’m currently working on a documentary about an ex-black power militant living in exile in Cuba. With the thawing Cuba-US relations in the backdrop, the film looks at his life in the potential thereat of extradition after more than 4 decades spent in exile.