Ends With You
Ryan Donovan, a once addict turned councillor and mental health champion retraces the steps of his tumultuous early life in east London. Having separated himself from this world in order to heal, he attempts to reconnect with old family and friends. Ryan reconvenes with his cousin, Micheal, who is still an addict. Each now a story to tell and a fresh perspective on the past, their conversation explores the depths of addiction, recovery, mental heath and family.
Louis TurnerDirectorBluebells on the Mountain [Award Winning Short Film]
Jarrad PughProducerPetroleum Spirit (Mirror Productions), First Sign of Love (BBC), Bluebells on the Mountain
Ryan DonovanKey Cast
Completion Date:July 30, 2023
Production Budget:5,000 GBP
Country of Origin:United Kingdom
Country of Filming:United Kingdom
Greenwich Film FestivalGreenwich
September 15, 2023
Mental Health Film - Honourable Mention
Louis Turner is a film and theatre maker and musician from West London. His previous film, Bluebells on the Mountain was selected at the BAFTA Cymru Qualifying Film Festival 'Camarthan Bay'.
Film: - ‘Bluebells on the Mountain’ [Short Film] Writer/Director and Composer/ Arranger. Film Festivals/Awards include: Camarthan Bay 2021; BAFTA and BAFTA Cumru Qualifier, Semi Finalist at Lonely Wolf: London International Film Festival 2021, Winner of ‘Best Indie Short Film’ at Kosice International Film Festival 2020. Reviews: ‘Inspiring and Memorable’ (Sunday Shorts).
-‘Tacet’ [Short Film] - Writer/Director and Musical Arranger. Broadcast live on GoTV in December 2020 as part of the 2020 London International Motion Picture Awards.
Theatre: - ‘FRYDAYS’ [Play] Creator, composer and performer. FRYDAYS has received rave reviews first in 2022 at the Camden People’s Theatre, then going on to tour the UK in 2023 and win the ‘Pick of the Fringe’ Bursary Award at Brighton Fringe Festival in 2023.
- 'Backbone' [Play] Writer. Produced by Chichester Festival Theatre in 2021 audio version available online and winner of the Chichester Festival Theatre's 5 Day Play competition.
This project began simply an interview I conducted with a Mr Ryan Donovan as the world was beginning to ease lockdown restrictions.
We were put in touch as he wanted to tell his life story of trauma, addiction and ultimately redemption out there to reach people that might be grappling with the same struggles he went through. He wanted to encourage people that it is possible to turn any situation around, no matter how bad. The interview was in preparation for the launch of Ryan’s Mental Health Academy where this was to be the very focus of the work at the school. We conducted the interview in one day’s filming and that was a wrap. Or that was the plan, at least.
However, immediately when I heard Ryan’s story of the troubles he was suffering and the turning point for him to make a change, I knew this project could go so much further.
I wanted to see him in action as the mentor and trainer he has become, I wanted to explore the peripheries around Ryan’s story on. As Ryan began tell me about his desire to reconnect with close people from his past, now being in a stable place from which to do so, we began to discus how we could capture these meetings on camera and thus a narrative for this documentary organically grew.
To me, the heart of the story of Ends With You is Ryan’s realisation that something needed to change. These are often the most interesting parts of any story for me personally - the moment where a person’s life can never be the same. Having reached a watershed realisation - simply going back to the life before is not an option. This is what struck a chord with me with Ryans story. This moment is Ryan’s attempted suicide.
The statistics on this subject are horrendous. As of 2023, 115 people die by suicide in the UK every week – with 75% of those deaths being male and according to CALM, suicide is the the leading death of men aged under 50 in the UK. But I believe the best way that we can fully conceive these numbers isn’t to think of it a just a statistic but to focus on one story.
That is why, beyond the statistics and even the details of the story, what most inspired me about with the project was how the subject Ryan donavon spoke in that first interview. So candid, frank, open, honest and unafraid of judgement. Just seeing what you may consider a ‘hard as nails East End bloke’ opening up about his struggles - I found incredibly powerful.
I believe this is the only way to deal with this problem of mental health struggles - male and otherwise, because if these struggles are not talked about they lead to detrimental outcomes. I hope this film can be an inspiration to that young men but also anyone watching, to break those stigmas and begin the conversions they need to have.
By working on this project and with Ryan, I can say that it helped me greatly coming out of the pandemic. I, like many people, had become incredibly insular and anxious during the lockdowns and I found making this film a profoundly freeing experience.
The biggest takeaway from this project for me, has been learning that everyone really does have a story to tell and you never know what people have going on in their lives and their pasts. So we must act with compassion, and as important as its to talk about these issues, its also important to listen.