Their Own Life

The heart-gripping Their Own Life portrays three persons who survived a period of serious longing for suicide. Kris van der Veen was bullied in high school so intensely in his Christian community in the far north of the Netherlands, that he tried to take his life with pills when he was only 14 years old. Transgender woman Solange Dekker experienced no understanding of her narrow-minded family members and jumped of a high bridge twice. And Jean Passos heard from his Brazilian family he as possessed by the devil after coming out as gay.
The number of suicides in the LGBTQ community in the Netherlands is five times higher than in the other parts of the society. A shocking result of being not accepted, bullied, or even thrown out of your family completely.
The documentary is an initiative of Henk Burger who now already has experienced 25 suicides among his friends. Documentary maker Tim Dekkers follows Kris, Solange, and Jean in their actual support of others who struggle with loneliness, insecurities, depression, and death wishes. Solange became a supermodel, winning even as the first European transgender woman the prestigious Miss International Queen title of 2023. Kris managed to become a politician in the town council of Amsterdam, focusing on the ones who needed attention the most. Jean developed a special Acrobatic Mental Health Workshop to give people more confidence.
Halfway through the period of making this documentary, the shocking news came that Jean, despite his positive feelings, hanged himself in his studio. Suddenly his death became an unexpected part of the story, that will leave no viewer unmoved. How to go further with the knowledge that you can never really read one’s mind completely?
Their Own Life is not only a taboo-breaking film, but it is also most and for all a heart-breaking cry for change.


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