Evocative film deals with most sensitive of subjects

Minnie Driver and Paul Adelstein portray a successful couple whose lives are devastated when they lose their first baby to stillbirth. This image from the movie Return to Zero shows them with their baby daughter, who is born towads the end of this emotionally charged film
Minnie Driver and Paul Adelstein portray a successful couple whose lives are devastated when they lose their first baby to stillbirth. This image from the movie Return to Zero shows them with their baby daughter, who is born towads the end of this emotionally charged film

An emotive film based on the true experience of an American film writer is to be screened in Belfast at the end of this month.

Return to Zero is the heartbreaking story based on the account of its writer, Sean Hanish, and his wife Kiley, who lost their first child to stillbirth in 2005.

Actress Minnie Driver plays the role of Maggie, who with her husband Aaron (Paul Adelstein) see their joy and excitement at the anticipation of the arrival of their first baby turn to agony when it is discovered that their little son has died in Maggie’s womb.

The film was first shown at the Cinequest Film Festival on March 8, 2014, and then had an international premiere on the Lifetime Network in May last year.

Thanks to joint efforts by two charities who support people who have been affected by the loss of their baby, SANDS NI (Stillbirth and Neo-Natal Death Support) and LAL (Life After Loss), the film is to be screened for the first time in Northern Ireland on May 29.

The movie, which will be shown in the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, also stars Alfred Molina, Connie Nielsen, Andrea Anders, Kathy Baker, and Sarah Jones, and has been awarded a 2014 Satellite Award for Best Motion Picture Made For Television.

Sean Hanish and Minnie Driver have also been nominated for awards, including a 2014 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress for Driver.

The story follows the lives of successful couple Aaron and Maggie, whose once solid relationship starts to unravel as Maggie plummets into depression, and neither seem able to say or do the right things to be able to heal and move on.

Speaking about this emotional movie, Co Down woman Anne Marie Smyth, who is chair of SANDS NI’s steering committee, and also experienced the tragic loss of stillbith herself, says that Mr Hanish wrote it because he wanted to raise awareness of stillbirth.

“Although it is important to remember that most pregnancies are free of problems and the vast majority of babies are born alive and healthy, stillbirths do happen,” she says.

“Mothers who have experienced this loss often say they had no idea that babies sometimes die and wish they had known it was a possibility. They might have acted differently if they had known there was any risk.

“Lack of awareness and the misconception that stillbirth is a thing of the past increases the risk that both parents and health professionals might miss warning signs and find out too late that pregnancies can go wrong. At SANDS we think it is important that mothers should have access to information about stillbirth. This includes what information there is about the causes of stillbirth, and an awareness of possible warning signs if something is not right.”

And she believes that Return To Zero will strike a chord with many people.

“While this film is intended for a wide release to audiences regardless of their life experience, Return To Zero fills a particular niche for a market that has gone unserved - those who have or know someone who has experienced the devastating loss of stillbirth, miscarriage, or neonatal death.

“The film shows how the impact that one stillbirth has on the mother, the father, their family, and friends is devastating; a shock-wave of pain, guilt and then, too often, silence. It outlines how the majority of those affected, especially the mothers, suffer in this silence, often believing that their grief and trauma is theirs to bear alone in silence.”

**Anne Marie says that the cinema in the Odyssey Arena has been booked for 100 people initially, and tickets are priced £9.50, with possible reduction for health professionals.

lYou can view the trailer for Return to Zero via the following you tube link http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=return+to+zero&FORM=VIRE2#view=detail&mid=7C74D4083C1B06E473787C74D4083C1B06E47378.