Faculty-directed film 'Toward Daylight' selected for international festival

A documentary directed by a Penn State faculty member about suicide and its survivors was selected to be shown at an international film festival.

The film, “Toward Daylight,” was picked to be part of Culture Unplugged’s online festival Spirit Enlightened. Culture Unplugged is an organization with a mission to serve people around the globe with films of social and spiritual content. Spirit Enlightened focuses specifically on following the spirit that has led humanity throughout time.

“Toward Daylight” was originally produced for the Centre County Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The documentary emphasizes suicide and survivorship. It offers resources for people impacted by depression or thoughts of suicide and it also tells the stories of real people and their battles in life.

“Toward Daylight” was produced by a team of Penn State senior faculty members and students. Director Barbara Bird is an associate professor in the Department of Film-Video and Media Studies. Producer Andrea Seeley graduated with a degree in film-video in 2006 and cinematographer Ken Campbell graduated with a degree in film-video in 2011. Additional assistance on the project was provided by Brian Miller and Kenny Dodson, both graduates with film-video degrees.

“As I researched the issue in Centre County, I was amazed by the number of people touched by suicide,” said Bird. “In making the film, we also found a community of people here who felt free to talk about it.”

Culture Unplugged’s audiences consist of professors, students, activists, journalists, filmmakers and producers across the world. With a presence in India, Indonesia, New Zealand and the United States, it has attracted more than 60 million viewers from 231 different countries or territories for its festivals. The site launched its first film festival in 2008 and has conducted 12 festivals overall.

“Toward Daylight” may be viewed online, and more information about Culture Unplugged may be found on the group’s website.

Last Updated January 15, 2014