Film screening to honour life of Darwen man, Billy Yates

Published Monday 10 September 2018 at 14:02

A special Darwen preview screening of a new film which deals with the subject of suicide and depression will honour one if its co-stars who sadly took his own life during the film’s production.

Billy Yates, originally from Darwen, was a cameraman who worked in the television industry on programmes such as the Antiques Roadshow and The X-Factor.

He died in 2017 during production on ‘I Made This For You’ –which tackles the topics of suicide and depression head on, whilst retaining a lively sense of humour and aims to trigger positive actions and open up discussions on the subject by its audience.

Now the film’s writer, director and co-star – and Billy’s friend, Cristian Solimeno, is bringing ‘I Made This For You’ to Darwen for a special preview screening to celebrate Billy’s birthday on Friday, September 14 at Level One L1VE.

Cristian said:

While we were in post-production, Billy took his own life. He was a really good mate of mine. And it’s crazy to think that while you’re in the middle of making this thing, about this subject, as a group, making this net for people… right in front of me, someone I loved was in great danger, and I didn’t clock it. And he fell right through.

There was a massive sense of duty to all the people involved to finish the film but a sense of duty to Billy in particular because I feel like a sort of custodian of a small part of him that still exists. I think he would have been really proud of it as it turned out.

‘I Made This For You’ depicts lead character Al and his friend Danny’s quest to rescue him from the despair that has isolated him from everyone who loves him.

Danny makes Al a DVD – hence the title – to show him just how much he is loved, and just how much he would be missed if he was no longer there.

We watch Al observing intimate footage of old friends, ex-girlfriends and distant family talking about what he means to them.

Cristian continues:

People have been massively touched by it, which is amazing. People have come out of early screenings and sent messages to people they haven’t seen in ages. That has happened a lot. And some people told me they’d thought a bit differently about their lives as a result. It starts a dialogue. It’s a small film, but when people watch it together they have a big experience.

The screening of ‘I Made This For You’ in the borough comes just as Blackburn with Darwen Council has chosen suicide prevention as one of its key corporate campaigns to support this year given the growing awareness of this vitally important issue both locally and nationally.

The Council will be working with the film-makers to look at ways of further promoting the film locally as part of a year-long programme of events, activities, training opportunities and suicide awareness raising in the borough.

Tickets for the ‘I Made This For You’ Darwen screening are available for £5 on the door, with a portion of the proceeds going to Darwen Tower – a place that was very special to Billy.

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