Last year’s Milwaukee Short Film Festival saw the local debut of Hoan Alone: Personal Stories From The Bridge, a short documentary that explores the delicate subject of suicides on Milwaukee’s iconic Hoan Bridge. Now, a year later, the film is available for free on YouTube.
Hoan Alone was inspired by the morning commute of its director, Aaron Johnson. “Last year, on two separate occasions, I drove by and saw somebody standing on the edge of the bridge ready to kill themselves,” Johnson told TMJ4 in 2018. Researching the topic, the director learned 30 people had taken their lives at the Hoan Bridge since 2000.
“Milwaukee’s Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge is the crown over Summerfest and has become one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks,” says the film’s synopsis. “But it’s also a popular site for suicides. This animated documentary explores the issues of the bridge and suicide through three intimate interviews. Follow animator Aaron Johnson as he shares the stories of Dave, John, and Mary.”
One subject nearly ended his life on the Hoan Bridge. Another lost a family member. Another, a firefighter, encountered a woman on top of the bridge. The interviews were animated by Johnson, a la Richard Linklater’s Waking Life.
If you or someone you know is in need of help, you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org to chat with someone online.