Palo Alto

Bay Area-Produced Teen Suicide Documentary to Premiere in LA

The conversation about teen suicide takes to the big screen Thursday with the release of a Bay Area-produced documentary at the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival.

"The Edge of Success" explores two suicide clusters that claimed the lives of nine Palo Alto and Gunn High School students from the perspective of their classmates.

The documentary followed six students through two years of high school as they dealt with the loss of their classmates and their parents’ and schools’ efforts to find the best way to help them move forward.

"In the film you hear kids talking about feeling inadequate, that they weren’t doing as much as their peers and they weren’t doing enough so they had to do more than their peers and so it was a constant comparison between themselves and their classmates," said documentarian Kathryn Basiji.

The filmmakers say they were most struck by how much pressure was coming from the students themselves and how willing they were to be open about that difficult time.

"Even students who weren’t great friends with the people who passed away, it was still a classmate that is gone, a classmate who we’re not going to see again … never being able to see that person again," said Gunn graduate Tone Lee.

Palo Alto superintendent declines to comment on the documentary.

Suicide is now the second-leading cause of death among teenagers. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 800-273-8255.

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