Don’t Change the Subject, a new film to be previewed at the Santa Barbara Public Library on October 21, explores the experience of suicide on several levels and with honesty, while incorporating humor and creativity. An important element of the film is how individuals make meaning of loss and understand loved ones who have taken their own lives. The Santa Barbara Public Library will host a free screening at 2:00pm on Sunday, October 21 in the Faulkner Gallery of the Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St. There will be light refreshments and chat with the director, Mike Stutz, after the film.

Don’t Change the Subject is a darkly comic look at what happens when one man dares to ask questions about the dirtiest word in any language – suicide. No one seems to want to have a conversation about it. But what if we dig into it in a completely different way? Director Mike Stutz investigates his mother’s suicide by opening up a conversation with his family that they never had when he was a child, when she died. Then he recruits a band of writers, artists, dancers, comics, punk clowns and suicide survivors to put their own unique stamp on the conversation. Animation, a suicide band, and parties for dead people are also included.

Drawing on the Mexican Day of the Dead saying that you die three times — the first time when your heart stops beating, the second when they put you in the ground, and the third when the last person on earth who can tell a story about you dies — Stutz seeks to celebrate the lives of those who have died by their own hand instead of cloaking their existence in shame. Don’t Change the Subject invites the viewer to sit back, share a laugh, celebrate life and ponder a very dirty word.

All programs of the Santa Barbara Public Library System are free and open to the public. If you need assistance to participate in this program, please call Library Administration at 805-564-5608. To find books and other resources on suicide at the branches of the Santa Barbara Public Library System, visit

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