• Photo: Michael Roud

“Suicide”: Q&A with filmmaker Molly Ratermann

A dark comedy about a narcissistic college dropout.

A Short film by Molly Ratermann

Filmmaker and actress Molly Ratermann is not afraid to take on the tough topics. This Bay Area native has been winning film festivals around the globe with her dark comedy short film, “Suicide.” Most recently, she screened it as part of the California Independent Film Festival, earning high-praise from her hometown crowd.

The official description of the 28-minute tale is: a narcissistic college dropout’s desperate attempt to prove a point by dragging her worried best friend to the desert to commit a grand suicide.

With more than 20 festival appearances, “Suicide” has earned Ratermann 17 awards and tons of fans for its distinctive approach to suicide, the LGBT community and its dynamic female characters. Rather than focusing on a single perspective, she showcases three different points of view of someone dealing with suicide.

Diving into important social issues appears to be the primary focus of this rising young filmmaker. Ratermann’s latest short titled “Lizzie Lost,” highlights the rejection of unrequited love and a life changing diagnosis. She was invited to preview it at the Cannes Short Film Corner in France and screen it at the Hastings Fringe Film Festival in the U.K.

Culture Vulture caught up with Ratermann to ask a few questions:

CV: What’s the storyline of “Suicide”?

Molly Ratermann: “Suicide” follows the life of the narcissistic Carson McCarthy whose hobby is planning her own suicide. After multiple attempts, she decides to drag her best friend to the desert on a grand suicide mission. As crazy as it sounds, it actually is a fun film.

CV: Why did you want to tell this story?

MR: I really wanted to highlight mental health in a more digestible way so that audiences don’t feel nervous talking about the subject. I wanted to tell an effective piece without having to smack the audience in the face. Hopefully it has added a little more awareness to the subject from the audiences it has reached.

CV: Was it difficult dealing with this subject matter in a comedic way?

MR: Dealing with the subject matter in this way was much more relatable for me. I’ve grew up in a family that always used this tactic and I wanted to relay that on to audiences.

CV: Are you surprised by the positive audience response?

MR: Yes. It’s not that I didn’t have faith in the project, but coming off of editing it for so long and seeing so many rough cuts, you start to hate the film. When we started to get so much positive response, it was really uplifting.

CV: You’ve been screening it around the world, what’s that been like for you?

MR: It’s been an absolute ball. I’ve learned so much from being able to attend all the different film events. From expanding my network to seeing so many indie films from around the world, it’s been really inspiring. I’ve also been able to travel to some places I’ve always wanted to go and going for film has been really rewarding.

CV: Best advice you’ve actually followed?

MR: A combination of “Do it, Molly!” and “Have fun” are probably the most simple but grounding things I’ve followed, of course, coming from my parents reiteration of these phrases over the years.

CV: Your source of inspiration is…?

MR: Like a lot of people, I get inspiration from going out and having experiences, talking to people from different walks of life and being curious. I think I also get a lot of inspiration from feeling empathetic toward other people, imagining a walk in their shoes.

CV: The project you wish you’d worked on?

MR: Oh boy. Projects in the past tense, there are so many. Maybe one of the classics like being in a Charlie Chaplin film or working with Lucille Ball. More recently, probably “Little Miss Sunshine.”

CV: Lastly…what’s next?

MR: Currently, I am developing two feature films and will hopefully be shooting a web series this coming fall/winter. Hopefully everyone can stay tuned with Little Hand Productions and follow the journey.

Jenna Mundo has been writing about creative artists and the entertainment industry for more than 10 years. Her behind-the-scenes experience, in both film and television, gives her unique access to celebrities and fast rising up-and-comers in the biz. She aims to deliver fresh buzz and in-depth interviews with the hottest ‘new’ names hitting the big and small screen.