NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- John Palomino admits that for most of his life, he was ashamed and embarrassed to talk about his father, who committed suicide when he was 6-years-old. And so, the New Rochelle native put his efforts into a movie that deals with the topic.
"Man of the House," premiering at the Pelham Picture House Saturday, May 6, was filmed in and around New Rochelle and Mount Vernon, with nods to Mamaroneck, to mirror exactly what happened to him 24 years ago.
"The script and casting were important, but the areas we shot in were just as important or even more so," he said. "I wanted the locations to be authentic to the story."
The story, told from the child's perspective, was written five years ago but Palomino said it took him a while to be "ready" to bring it to life on screen. After his dad's death, he admits he had a tough upbringing and a hard time dealing with life.
Which is why creating something that hopefully helps others is a big part of his movie's mission. "People need support and I feel I have a moral responsibility to do what I can to educate, inform and comfort," said the first-time filmmaker.
"In many ways, I've become a huge advocate for suicide prevention and I've realized more and more that it's still a serious issue that a lot of people tend to ignore and are still uncomfortable speaking about."
He said doing the film -- he wrote and directed it and also plays his father -- was important for him as part of his own healing process.
In fact, he spent last summer in Colombia, where his father was from, to meet his dad's family for the first time. Being the filmmaker he is, he went with friends who helped him record it for a documentary he hopes to produce next year. The whole experience, he said -- the South American visit plus his work with "Man of the House" -- has helped him learn about a dad he never knew.
Because his father was a New Rochelle firefighter, he expects former and current firefighters to be on hand at the Pelham screening. He's also invited local suicide prevention agencies such as NAMI Westchester (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to speak about their experiences and the services they offer.
A Q & A with the cast/crew -- three members also have suicides in their family -- will discuss the impact suicide loss has had on them and what it was like to work on the film. The event will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. More information HERE .
Click HERE to see trailer.
The Picture House is at 175 Wolfs Lane, Pelham, (914) 738-7337, www.thepicturehouse.org/ .