RICHMOND, Va. -- Myles Brown never imagined his first film would receive such acclaim, but when “Journey” made its big debut at this month’s Richmond International Film Festival, Myles could see his story was having a huge impact in people’s lives. The film has already been shown in private settings around the region.
“Oh my gosh, this is my passion,” Myles exclaims. “It’s what I was meant to do. It just sort of started as a passion project for me to cope with the loss of my best friend and then it turned into a message where ‘how can we save the next person’s life?’”
In January of 2020, Myles’ best friend, John, was reported missing. Both young men had grown up together, played soccer and graduated from St. Christopher’s School in Richmond.
“When we were at school, we were just inseparable, so everybody knew how close we were,” Myles says.
But in January 2021, Myles heard the devastating news that John had died by suicide. The grief was overwhelming, and Myles began searching for ways to understand his friend’s mental health condition at the time of his death.
“I didn’t know how to process his passing at all,” Myles says. “But I turned to music and screen writing and filming as a way to cope with it in a positive way.”
That began a 7-month project working on “Journey,” exploring the natural beauty of Richmond from every angle with his camera and talking with people about life’s ups and downs, including anxiety and depression.
“The theme of “Journey” is normalizing the grieving process and understanding that there are positive ways to cope and there are ways to start those conversations,” Myles says. “When you have more conversations about grief and you realize that a lot of people are fighting their own battles, it creates a sense of empathy in our community.”
Myles says his passion for film making started as a student at VCU, where he produced athletic videos for the university. However, “Journey” has reinforced Myles’ belief that films not only entertain but can be a source of information that can help people understand, cope, and heal from pain.
Today, Myles owns his own video production company, and is working on several future projects and films.
His work continues to reflect his experiences, not only as a psychology major with a deeper understanding of mental health, but as a grieving friend who has found a way to help others who are suffering.
Myles continues to have a close bond with John’s family and hopes his work will carry on his best friend’s spirit.
“I think that’s the power of 'Journey.' I’ve had so many people come up to me and say I lost somebody last month or a year ago and this film has provided a source of healing for me,” Myles says. “Being able to create a project that will keep his legacy going on forever, will also help save other people’s lives. I think he would be really proud of the project.”
Click here for more information about “Journey” and to see upcoming screenings.
This segment is sponsored by WHOA Behavioral Health.