Monday 7 December 2020

Toxic Masculinity: The Killer You Won’t See Coming


Toxic Masculinity: The Killer You Won’t See Coming

Director Cristian Solimeno talks about how his film shot a decade ago is more relevant than ever before

3rd December, 2020, London, UK: Director Cristian Solimeno will be releasing his psychological thriller The Glass Man on 7th December, 10 years after its creation. He maintains that the film’s themes of recession, job loss, mental crisis and toxic masculinity are more important than ever.
Shot in 2009 during the credit crunch, The Glass Man follows Martin Pyrite (Andy Nyman), a suit clad middle class businessman who has the beautiful car, the beautiful wife (Neve Campbell) and the beautiful home. His identity as 'successful breadwinner' is shattered when he is dismissed from work, leaving him struggling to pay for his lifestyle. His frantic attempts to maintain the illusion that everything is okay, leads him into desperate trouble when a loanshark (James Cosmo), shows up at his house to collect Martin’s debts. We find that there is no depth Martin won’t sink to in order to hold on to what he’s got. Focussing on an outwardly mild, middle class character makes The Glass Man a novel and even a decade later, timely take on masculinity and repressed rage.
Cristian says “I wanted to explore that problematic masculinity in a different way because honestly, I think it’s a universal problem. Right then, it seemed like actually it was the men in suits who were really the ones taking huge risks at the wheel of society and crashing it for all of us. I set this story against the backdrop of the credit crunch which was happening at the time, but I’d never have guessed that 10 years on, economically, we’d be right back there.”

This Christmas, statistics show that the country will find itself in a worse financial situation than the 2008 crash when The Glass Man was filmed (Channel 4). There are currently 1.62 million people unemployed, which the ONS predicts will rise to 2.6 million by the middle of 2021. This accompanies worrying trends in male suicide, which reached a two decade high in England and Wales this year (ONS). Men aged 45-49 are at the highest risk, and whilst we can't directly link this to Coronavirus and redundancy, The Samaritans said, 'callers have been worried about losing their job and/or business and their finances, with common themes around not being able to pay rent/mortgage, inability to support the family, and fear of homelessness.' 

Cristian has very personal experiences of depression and how gaining and losing the status that goes with a high profile job can toy with you mentally.  After early career success as the ultimate toxic alpha male, Jason Turner in Footballers' Wives, Cristian later found himself in a long period without acting work, with nowhere to live. He was battling for the rights to get The Glass Man back after making a bad deal, and was sofa surfing in order to have a roof over his head. A bad breakup and the death of two good friends in quick succession took him to the edge. He says, "It was really touch and go for while there. For a good couple of years, it was purely the kindness and incredible generosity of friends and family that stopped me slipping through the cracks. I gave up on myself for a while to be honest but other people didn’t give up on me. If it wasn’t for them, I really don’t know what would have happened."
Once he was back on his feet, he turned his attentions to directing another film about male mental health. Earlier in 2020, after several years of work, he released this feature film called I Made This For You, which followed a group of friends, attempting to convince one of their own not to end his life. The film was dedicated to Billy Yates, one of the film’s stars and also Cristian’s close friend who tragically took his own life during post productionThe film was praised by critics and mental health professionals alike. It was picked up by Channel 4 as well as being featured in a moving piece on BBC News.
Solimeno hopes that by releasing two films this year, both with a strong focus on mental wellbeing, he can cut through the noise and reach men who find it hard to talk.
He says, “You’re going to fail sometimes, and you’re going to fall, no matter who you are. We have to allow for that. None of those falls or failures need define us if we can find a way to get back in the game of life and play again. The fact is, I’m a far stronger, far more capable man now than I ever could have been if I hadn’t been on that journey. From where I stand now, I’m grateful for the things that went wrong in many ways and I desperately want to communicate that. When you’re there it feels like nothing could ever change and that there’s nothing to play for, but the truth is that all storms pass. Afterwards, no matter what you lose, you will still be you, maybe even a better version. Given time, good things can and often do grow out of bad times.”
Cristian Solimeno is available for interview on the points above and to promote his film, The Glass Man, which will be released on digital download platforms from 7th December.

Read Cristian's account of dealing with grief from suicide here:

Official Trailer
Cristian Solimeno Biography
Cristian Solimeno is a well known actor and award-winning film maker who has directed 3 feature films and numerous shorts including LOVE which collected the prize for best short at Gijon International Film Festival, Best Acting at the Rhode Island International Film Festival and the Onda Curta prize at Circuito-Off Venice Short Film Festival. 

Cristian’s first feature as writer/director was the heartfelt, deconstructed and bittersweet indie rom-com THIS IS WHAT IT IS, in which he also starred opposite Lorraine Burroughs. 

His next feature was THE GLASS MAN, an emotional, frightening and beautifully detailed study of toxic masculinity and a man who gets pushed by a loan shark to the very edges of his sanity. It sits snugly between horror and  psychological thriller and stars Andy Nyman, James Cosmo and Neve Campbell. The film premiered to rave reviews at Frightfest in 2011. The film’s exploration of the destructive pressure of debt and financial issues are more relevant and important now than ever.

His third feature, I MADE THIS FOR YOU was released in the UK in October of this year, Strangely, just 2 months before his second feature Launches. I made this for You continues his exploration of masculinity and mental health but takes a different approach, focusing on a group of friends trying to stop one of their mates from committing suicide. The film was picked up by channel 4 and played out on All4 till November 25th. It garnered a lot of media attention and was highly praised by both reviewers and mental health professionals and BBC News even did a feature on it which was one of their highest viewed articles. 

Cristian’s films are always deeply subjective and often explore unique ways of using the medium itself as part of the story.

Cristian was born and raised in central London. Leaving school at 16 with no qualifications he educated himself through voracious reading and entered the industry as a member of several youth theatre groups including the Royal Court, the Young Vic and Youngblood at Riverside Studios from where he began to be cast in small parts in TV shows. At 19 he started his own theatre company with school friend Jesse Lawrence and they went on to write and perform several plays before turning to film. They continue to collaborate to this day.

His breakout role was as Jason Turner in hit television show Footballers’ Wives, he has continued in television and can be seen starring in the London based Netflix crime series GUILT. His jump into film came with his lead role in the big screen adaptation of Dead Babies, the cult classic Martin Amis novel. Since then Cristian has starred in and played supporting roles in numerous feature films such as Highlander: The Source, Tuesday, Mother Of Tears , Perfect Hideout, We Still Steal The Old Way, Rush and DJ, Welcome to Curiosity and the recently released, LUCID which is his 3rd job with Billy Zane!
Press Release
"Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die"
The Glass Man is coming to UK digital download platforms from December 7th
Tigermoth Moving Pictures and Central City Media are delighted to announce the UK digital release of the psychological horror thriller The Glass Man on December 7th. The film includes a strong British cast of Andy Nyman (Ghost Stories) and James Cosmo (Game of Thrones), as well as horror icon Neve Campbell (Scream). The Glass Man originally screened at Frightfest in 2011 to critical acclaim and now has its long awaited UK release.

The Glass Man tells the story of Martin (Nyman) whose perfect life, with the perfect wife (Campbell) and the perfect house is shattered when a loan shark, Pecco (Cosmo), calls at their home in the dead of night to collect what he's owed.  Pecco offers an ultimatum – lose everything or be his accomplice for the evening.  As they hurtle towards the terrible deed that Martin must perform, it starts to become clear that Pecco's intentions are even darker than they appear. 

The film is directed by Cristian Solimeno, who earlier in the year released the heartfelt meditation on mental health, I Made This For You. The film followed a group of friends trying to stop suicide went viral when it was released on youtube for free during Mental Health Awareness month. It was shortly picked up by Channel 4 and praised by the BBC.

Cristian says "I’m incredibly excited to bring this film to a UK audience at last. The performances are extraordinary and the themes seem more important and pressing than ever. Just wait till you see what Andy Nyman does in this. It will blow you away."

The Glass Man will be available to watch on digital download in the UK on December 7th.