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CineWomen on Screen—A NYWIFT series: Unspeakable by Sally Heckel, May 27


On a bright morning in May, Dr. George Heckel climbed the stairs to the attic of his home in
Rochester, New York, and shot himself. He had a thriving medical practice, a wife and three children, and a beautiful home. Why would a man who seemed to have it all take his life and leave his family devastated?

Twenty years later, his daughter, filmmaker Sally Heckel, who was 17 at the time of her father’s death, began making Unspeakable, a non-fiction film exploring his despondent state of mind. It soon grew from an expression of anger and accusation toward her father to an in-depth examination of his suicide and the years surrounding it.
In a storyline that bridges past and present, Heckel weaves home movies of an apparently idyllic post-war childhood with dramatic silent recreations of a darker side of American family life. Acting as the film's narrator, she coaxes her family and friends out of their silence. Through their voice-over recollections and reflections, she crafts a layered portrait of an ambivalent American patriarch, his family and the tensions that simmered beneath the surface, beyond public view.


Sally Heckel
is an independent filmmaker who produces, directs, writes, edits and often shoots her own films. She’s made short fiction films: A Jury Of Her Peers, Ordinary Days and Lou; animated shorts:The Bent Tree; and documentaries: It's Not A One-Person Thing. Her work has screened in Europe and the US in Festivals and also on TV, and she’s received production grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the American Film Institute. Heckel has won awards at the American Film Festival, the Chicago International Film Festival, the Sinking Creek Film Celebration and the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, as well as an Academy Award nomination. Unspeakable is her first feature.

There will be a brief Q&A following the screening.

An after-party will also follow at a nearby location - CASH BAR.

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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts
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