The Bridge

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Published on 16th February 2016 by

The Bridge is a powerful and controversial 2006 documentary which was edited from one year of constant filming at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in 2014, it captured numerous suicides on camera and features subsequent interviews with friends and relatives of the jumpers. The documentary was inspired by an article by Tad Friend on the problem of suicides on the bridge which was published in the New Yorker magazine in 2003.

During filming an average of one person every 15 days was filmed jumping off of the bridge, 23 of the 24 known suicides over the course of the year were captured. The filmmakers kept the filming secret throughout the project in order avoid a situation whereby people would choose the bridge as their suicide spot in order for it to be caught on camera. Also captured on the film were several people who had intended to jump but were dissuaded by passers by.

The film received both acclaim and criticism, some considered the project perverse whilst others considered the topic one which needed awareness. During filming the 12 members of crew would intervene where there was time and opportunity to do so, they were responsible themselves for saving six lives as a result of their intervention.

There was further controversy when it transpired that the filmmakers had misled city officials when gaining permission to film the bridge, they’d gained permission after stating that they intended to film nature.

In addition to the 10,000 hours of bridge footage the crew also recorded 120 hours of interview footage including an interview with Kevin Hines, a man who jumped to his death in the year 2000 but changed his mind during the fall and positioned himself so that he landed feet first. He survived with serious spinal injuries, his life saved by a swimming seal.

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