I am a filmmaker who has depicted the death of a child in a film.
A little girl, aged six.
The film I produced, 'The Good Neighbour' is broadly about child abuse, after all. We needed to see the consequences to understand that doing nothing is not an option when it comes to child abuse.
The great thing about making a film is that the little girl can wake up at the end of the scene.
She goes about her life.
She interacts with her friends and family.
She has hopes and dreams.
In short, she has a future beyond her death on screen.
On some level I worry about the desensitising effect that my film may have on people.
I want the audience to wake up out of apathy, not fall further into it.
And the argument about mass violence has too often reared its head in the context of the impact of media violence on would-be killers. The Aurora Cinema killer was dressed up as the Joker, from Batman, when he shot and killed those 12 people in a cinema in Colorado, USA.
The film they were watching was The Dark Knight Rises.
I have younger brothers and sisters. Each one of them is absolutely precious to me.
I saw them in the faces of the children in Connecticut, USA.
20 children who will not go on with their lives.
They will not interact with their friends and family.
They will never achieve their hopes and dreams.
They have no future beyond their death on screen.
I broke down and cried.
How do we keep moving after something so awful?
I feel like the arts have a part to play. A method of expression and meaning in a world that can sometimes seem so cruel.
Somehow, we have to play our part in humanising the world. Economics and politics don't do this. The arts do.
There are few more powerful feelings than connecting with the humanity in a piece of art; be it music, film, literature, theatre, painting, sculpture, anything.
I still shed a tear at the end of 'The Good Neighbour' when the little girl dies.
For some reason I feel that this emotive power in art can be a part of the healing.
I hope so.
But that is the future.
For now all I can feel is grief for the innocent lives blinked out without reason.
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