UW hosts Seattle premiere of ‘Four Sisters,’ a documentary on sibling survivors of suicide
“Four Sisters,” a film documenting the lives of four women who each lost a brother to suicide, will premiere Monday, May 5 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the University of Washington (Social Work Commons, Room 305) and will be followed by a panel discussion.
The event is being hosted by Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention, a nonprofit affiliated with the UW devoted to educating professionals and the public about suicide.
“Four Sisters” was produced by Caley Cook, a filmmaker and UW journalism lecturer. Cook lost her brother, Garrett, to suicide in 2007 and felt compelled to document and share her experiences. Her final product is a short film that gives voice to women such as herself: Survivors breathing life into those lost and finding a way to carry on despite the added weight of their often misunderstood experience.
Cook documents survivors Laura, Lauren, Maria and Laurie, all from Austin, Texas. All four women speak in tribute of their brothers. And from just a preview available online (foursistersdoc.com), one gets the sense that “Four Sisters” lives up to its name and envisions the hurdles and triumphs of the living as its primary goal.
“Most of all, we need to talk,” Cook wrote on the Four Sisters blog. “We need to tell our stories and tell our brothers’ stories and not let the national conversation around mental illness die down. There are so many of us. Let’s not lose our voice. I know my brother deserves that much. And I won’t let him down.”
The film premiere is also designed to be a community-building event, according to Forefront spokesperson Sue Lockett John. “We want to provide this opportunity for someone who has lost a loved one to suicide to connect with others in the community who share this understanding,” she said.
Katie Simmons, development officer for Forefront, lost her brother Doug to suicide. She explained in an email April 14: “‘Four Sisters’ honors the complexity of the grieving process for siblings and inspires courage for others to say, ‘Tell me about your brother.’ I would love for someone to ask me about Doug.”
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