Merundoi developing TV mini-series to raise suicide awareness

In character: One of the persons who auditioned for a role in the for the television mini-series (Photo by Keno George)

Merundoi Incorporated is working to produce a television mini-series as part of an initiative to raise awareness about suicide in Guyana.

Two Saturdays ago, an open casting call was held at the National Cultural Centre, where more than 60 persons auditioned for roles in the upcoming series.

Merundoi’s Production Manager Margaret Lawrence told Stabroek News that the turnout was “unprecedented,” with 62 persons having auditioned for 20 main and supporting roles/extras.

Persons waiting their chance to audition for the mini-series at the National Cultural Centre (Photo by Keno George)

“The response was unprecedented and I am quite pleased. We had expected to complete [at] latest 4 pm but we were there until 5.30 pm. There was also an amazing lineup of talent,” she added, while noting that 75% of those who auditioned were “new faces.”

Sunday Stabroek understands that while the series is expected to premiere in the second quarter of 2018, those who auditioned for roles will find out whether they were successful within the next three weeks. The judging panel comprised film director Kojo McPherson, director of photography/sound

An actor auditions for the role of a doctor in the upcoming Merundoi TV
mini-series (Photo by Keno George)

Dexter Pembroke, screenplay writer Mosa Telford and Lawrence.

Offering some background on the project, Lawrence explained that in July, 2016 the NGO consortium of Youth Challenge Guyana (YCG), Family Awareness Consciousness Togetherness (FACT) and Merundoi Incorporated responded to the European Commission Civil Society and Local Authorities 2016 Call for Proposals with a project, “The Helpline.”

This, she said, is aimed at providing and sustaining protective services for persons at risk of suicide. Some of the

activities proposed were the establishment of counselling centres in various regions, public awareness interventions, training of health, community, police officers and NGO workers, teachers and youth with peer counselling

However, Merundoi’s role is to produce a TV series in order to educate the public about this social issue, available services and preventative measures.

Despite its relatively small population, Guyana was previously ranked as the suicide capital of the world, with an average 44 per 100,000. The suicide rate has since fallen to 29 per 100,000 but remains above the world average. As a result, Guyana now ranks behind Sri Lanka, Lithuania and Democratic People’s Republic (North) of Korea, which all have higher rates as well as vastly larger populations.

When asked to elaborate on the difference between Merundoi’s long-running radio series and the TV series, Lawrence said the characters will be different.

Additionally, there will be two major storylines based on the most vulnerable populations that research has identified.

Our radio serial drama has been credited with having high levels of production and we will strive to produce a television mini-series with an international standard that can be shown globally,” Lawrence said. “The stories and characters will be believable and viewers will be able to identify with them, thus making the messages acceptable,” she further noted.

activities proposed were the establishment of counselling centres in various regions, public awareness interventions, training of police officers, health, community,  and NGO workers, teachers and youth with peer counselling

However, Merundoi’s role is to produce a TV series in order to educate the public about this social issue, available services and preventative measures.

Despite its relatively small population, Guyana was previously ranked as the suicide capital of the world, with an average 44 per 100,000. The suicide rate has since fallen to 29 per 100,000 but remains above the world average. As a result, Guyana now ranks behind Sri Lanka, Lithuania and Democratic People’s Republic (North) of Korea, which all have higher rates as well as vastly larger populations.

When asked to elaborate on the difference between Merundoi’s long-running radio series and the TV series, Lawrence said the characters will be different.

Additionally, there will be two major storylines based on the most vulnerable demographics that research has identified.

Our radio serial drama has been credited with having high levels of production and we will strive to produce a television mini-series with an international standard that can be shown globally,” Lawrence said. “The stories and characters will be believable and viewers will be able to identify with them, thus making the messages acceptable,” she further noted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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