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A man tows the line between life and death as he struggles with a mental illness called complicated grief.

Forlorning is a suicide awareness film which tells the story of Neal Bateman, an African American male who is suffering from a mental illness called complicated grief. In the film, we follow his deteriorating mental state as he prepares to take his own life.

Director Biography – Hezreel Robertson

Hezreel Robertson is an award winning writer/film director from Pittsburgh, Pa. He has a BS in music from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA in film and digital technology from Chatham University. Hezreel has written and produced several short films. His first short produced while at Chatham University, was well liked and gained a distribution deal with Am Virgin streaming service in Mumbai, India. His internationally recognized short film, Forlorning, has received 7 festival selections and 5 awards; including, a best actor award, best student film, and the Golden Moksha deeming Forlorning the best overall film in the Mokkho 2021 Film Festival.

Hezreel’s filming style has been described as “voyeuristic,” and hales from German expressionistic styles. Currently, Hezreel is in the process of producing several short films and 2 feature films.

Director Statement

At the heart of this film, Forlorning is about a mental illness called complicated grief which renders a person unable to complete the 7 stages of grieving. But, It is also about the subtle nature of being black in America. It is about the image of black men and how it has been dehumanized and relegated to generalizations and stereotypes, (sweat pants, a t-shirt, and a chain). Is about rehumanizing the image of black people via a simple and understandable story which inspires sympathy and compassion not just for the image of black people, but also the heart of black people. Forlorning seeks to accomplish the reimagining of black people through the story of Neal Bateman, a man struggling with family, love, loss, and his own humanity. Forlorning is about trying to find oneself and recreate meaning in the world after that loss. One could also say that Forlorning asks the question of what it means to be black and to live in that blackness, and it strives to express that in its purest form.


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