Estate agent turned his back on depression for film career

Russell Irwin, who has set up his own business after battling mental health problems.
Russell Irwin, who has set up his own business after battling mental health problems.
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A FILM buff who fell into depression after redundancy and the death of his mum is looking ahead to a brighter future with the launch of his own movie-making business.

Former estate agent Russell Irwin found himself reliant on anti-depressants following the death from a brain tumour of his mother Jennifer, aged 61.

But with the help of Sheffield employment organisation A4e, the 43-year-old has now set up his own business, Bacon Films.

The name was inspired by a desire to ‘bring home the bacon’ to support wife Michelle, 36, twins Ronnie and Annie, two, daughter Lily, four, son Henry, 12, and stepsons Shaun, eight, and Lewis, 14.

Russell, from Batemoor, Sheffield, who enjoyed a successful acting career in his younger days and has a degree in film from Sheffield Hallam University, decided a movie-making business would be the perfect challenge.

Russell said: “I was knocked sideways by the death of my mother. Ultimately I was suffering from depression. I had been out of work for a year, I had a large family to provide for and I had lost my moral compass.

“But I was supported and encouraged at A4e. I was able to come off anti-depressants and I had a goal again.

“Now I want to drive forward every day to achieve that goal, with the knowledge somewhere my mother is looking down and supporting me.”

Russell now has ambitions of producing a romantic comedy set in Sheffield and two shorter films next year, working with the South Yorkshire Filmmakers Network.

He is working to raise more than £100,000 to fund the three projects.

Mark Lovell, A4e executive chairman, said: “Russell is one of our great success stories.”