By Emma Gill
A 'groundbreakingly honest' documentary showing families coming to terms with baby loss is being premiered in Manchester.
Still Loved features seven families trying to cope with the grief that the loss of a baby brings.
Each year in the UK, more than 5,000 parents leave hospital without their baby and one in four pregnancies end in a loss.
Those behind the documentary say these deaths 'are hidden from society, stigmatised and silent' and the film aims to overcome the silence by 'showing parents’ stories of stillbirth and by providing an accessible, original and profound insight into the effects of the death of a baby'.
Still Loved is the debut feature from Debbie Howard, who has previously directed a string of short films that have screened at international film festivals and secured a number of prestigious awards.
She said: "Still Loved brilliantly gives a voice to all those affected, from bereaved mothers to often-overlooked fathers, many of whom open up about their experience for the first time ever on camera.
"This is a brave, inclusive and important film for all, not just those with first-hand experience of baby loss."
The documentary is supported by Tommy’s, the baby charity which funds research into stillbirth, miscarriage and pregnancy complications.
Dr Alex Heazell, director of Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre at St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester, said: "The subject matter of Still Loved is emotionally challenging - it should be, this is not a film to make the viewer feel comfortable.
"To make progress, we must break the silence, the stigma and the taboo that surrounds the death of a baby. Still Loved begins this process - it provides an accessible, original and profound insight into the effects of the death of a baby."
The release of the film coincides with Baby Loss Awareness Month throughout October, and International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day on October 15.
Debbie, founder of Big Buddha Films, said: “The parents were very happy to finally have a voice. When a baby dies, it’s still a baby.
"It’s still a child that is loved, cherished and wanted. Parents feel they can’t talk about their baby because other people don’t know how to cope with it."
Still Loved is on at AMC Cinema in Manchester at 7.30pm on Tuesday, October 4.
For tickets, costing £7.25, visit the website here .
For more details about Tommy's visit www.tommys.org .
Read in The Manchester Evening News here