“Every Aussie and Kiwi should know this story” – New Zealand Prime Minister John Key
John Kirwan in Tokyo, Japan.
UPDATED: In October 2010, filmmaker Julian Shaw released ‘All Blacks Don’t Cry’ – a dramatic film featuring All Black legend John Kirwan – online @ www.allblacksdontcry.com. The film was intended to be available for a limited run during Depression Awareness Month, to help spotlight the mental illness. However, due to an overwhelming response from viewers in it’s first few weeks, Shaw has decided that he will continue to make the film available to watch for free. “Even more important than the substantial views it has received, ‘All Blacks Don’t Cry’ has created a powerful online dialogue, with men in particular opening up and sharing in a way I haven’t really seen before. Viewers have clearly been empowered and inspired by the message of hope in the film. If the goal of this project was to engender discussion, then it is already a bigger success than I had hoped.”
Shaw has teamed up with his childhood hero Kirwan to make a powerful drama about the famous All Black’s battle with depression at the height of his rugby career. The World Health Organization (WHO) projects that depression will be the second-highest cause of years lost due to disability and early death by 2030.
Julian Shaw as John Kirwan.
“Depression is something I have lived through myself, and it’s the hardest thing I’ve been through as a young man,” Shaw, 24, says. “Someone like John helped me a lot. Growing up in Auckland when I was a kid, John Kirwan was my hero - he was the most famous man in New Zealand, a World Cup winner, and probably the best Rugby player in the world for a while. When I later learned about his struggle – that this mighty All Black had been to the edge and almost lost his life – it gave me a new perspective on what I’d been through myself. He was definitely someone who left me incredibly inspired. When I met John in the process of making my documentary ‘Cup of Dreams’ I pitched the idea to him of making a dramatic film based on his experiences, and he backed it 100%. He even gave me his blessing to portray him in the film.
Actor Julian Shaw with the real John Kirwan.
“People are helped and healed by stories. John Kirwan has done a fantastic ad campaign for depression in New Zealand, and I am sure his upcoming book will help a lot of people, but this film shows you a new approach to his story and in many ways takes you deeper than what you might have known. It will hopefully entertain and inspire people to talk, or even get help should they need to. I am giving people the opportunity to view the film for free because I know how debilitating depression can be. Anything to bring attention to this issue is a good thing, I believe.”
Viewers can visit the online portal www.allblacksdontcry.com to watch the film. There they can also buy John Kirwan’s book and merchandise to raise money for depression awareness.
Shaw is offering a unique approach to recouping the film’s production costs. “I’m giving people the chance to view it for free, and if they want to help the film recoup it’s costs and reach a wider audience they can donate to a special fund for the film. Normally you pay your money, then see the film and find out if it’s good, bad or average. This way you can see it for free and then decide what it is worth.”
For interviews with Julian Shaw contact firstname.lastname@example.org or +61 437 140 717.