Australian filmmaker and avid mountain biker Andrew Kirkman is working hard to fund his latest film, titled Double Black. The film shares a character’s struggle with depression and suicidal ideation, and the ways that mountain biking and other activities helped to soothe the ache. Andrew’s script for Double Black received a major award from the prestigious Victoria College of Arts, where he has been studying film since 2016, and now he needs help to further fund the full-length feature.
Kirkman himself lives with intense depression and complex trauma, and it’s no surprise that the film’s narrative balances many elements from his own life. In addition to exploring his spiritual and therapeutic experience with mountain biking, the script looks below the soil, at the roots of Andrew’s sadness. One piece of his personal trauma puzzle is his relationship with masculinity and the representatives of maleness that lead him toward a painful place in his youth.
I never knew my Dad, but I watched him deteriorate for years. He was mentally and physically infirm from Multiple Sclerosis, and he died while I was making my first-year production at the Victorian College of the Arts. I didn’t really know what else to do other than to keep working through it. I never really had any positive older male role models or anything like that, I got into a lot of fights as a kid, I was very angry and always just carried an emptiness with me everywhere I went, as if a resilience of character was never developed.
After he died I did a lot of soul searching, and felt drawn to look into childhood neglect because I seemed to share a lot of the later-life symptoms of adults who had dealt with father neglect, then I stumbled upon Warren Farrell’s talks and research. I was horrified to discover that boys (but it hurts girls too) who grow up with absent fathers suffer from higher rates of suicide, marital breakdowns, difficulties with delayed gratification (procrastination), alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, depression, shorter lifespans… the list goes on and on. Hell, fatherlessness is common among ISIS recruits and school shooters.
Andrew has since been looking in new directions to find his own version of the person he wants to be. Throughout his struggle, he has had profound experiences while riding his mountain bike that have changed his life for the better, and he hopes to share that “transcendence” with the film’s audience.
Exercise, [along with] a good diet and consistent sleep, [are] some of the most simple and potent antidepressants available. My riding kept me afloat, though it was often dangerous and I rode recklessly… at times it was nothing short of transcendent, and Double Black is my testament to that experience.
You can help fund the film’s creation via this Ready Fund Go page, and follow along on social media here and here. The funding page includes a full list of how the film crew will budget the money, brief bios for all of the folks working to produce the final motion picture.