Director of Abortion Doc 'After Tiller' to Tackle Film About Suicide Epidemic (Exclusive)

12:08 PM PST 06/09/2014 by Tatiana Siegel
Victoria Will/Invision/AP Images
Lana Wilson

Lana Wilson will helm "Last Call," which examines a handful of Buddhist priests combating the suicide epidemic that hit Japan after the economic downfall in 1997 and how that could serve as a model for dealing with the rising global suicide rate today.

Lana Wilson, who co-directed the Sundance abortion documentary After Tiller, is turning her attention to the subject of suicide.

She will direct the documentary Last Call, which chronicles the story of a few Japanese Buddhist priests combating the suicide epidemic that hit Japan after the economic downfall in 1997 and how that could serve as a model for dealing with the rising global suicide rate today.

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“When I learned that there was a new wave of Buddhist priests combating the suicide problem in Japan, I immediately wondered how they convince desperate people to catch hold and move forward with their lives,” Wilson said. "I realized I wanted to be in the room for these potentially extraordinary emotional encounters between two human beings and explore how those stories connect with the larger issues of economic turmoil, increasing alienation and fragmenting communities."

Lilly Hartley's Candescent Films is financing the development and production of the film. Hartley (Queen of Versailles) will be an executive producer.

“This is my second time supporting Lana Wilson as a director; she continues to impress me in her ability to tackle profound and complex issues," Hartley said. "We are excited to shine a light on the inspiring work of these Japanese Buddhist priests and hope their story will serve as a model on how to help reduce the rising suicide rate worldwide."

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Wilson’s last film, After Tiller, which went inside the clinics of the four most-targeted abortion providers in the country, premiered at Sundance in 2013 and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for best documentary, four Cinema Eye Honors, a Satellite Award and the Ridenhour Prize.

Candescent’s upcoming projects include Private Violence (HBO) and Art and Craft (Oscilloscope), both of which will be released in theaters later this year.

Cinematographer Hillary Spera (After Tiller) and field producer Eri Yokoyama (Cutie and the Boxer) are working with Wilson and Hartley on Last Call. 

Email: Tatiana.Siegel@THR.com
Twitter: @TatianaSiegel27

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