A personal feature-length documentary relating the filmmaker's journey following his father's death.
As baby-boomers reach their 60s, many are faced with the death of their parents. Are we prepared? How does a grown man deal with his father's death? How does he resolve unresolved issues after his father is gone? "Stuff" is a feature-length personal documentary about the death of my father and the garage-sized storage unit full of the stuff he left behind. I also follow the story of a long-time friend named Phil who, in coming to terms with the anger and guilt he feels toward his deceased father, travels to Iowa to bury his ashes in his father’s hometown cemetery. Both Phil and I attempt to connect with our fathers through different ritualized acts--Phil through a pilgrimage to his father’s hometown and a burial, and me, through his stuff, his home movies, pictures, books and tools. This film is about human experience--serious, funny, meditative, honest and, I hope, gripping. Find out more and view a trailer at www.stuffthefilm.com. Called "beautifully plain-spoken" and "fearless" by The Oregonian, "Stuff" has been selected by the Florida Film Festival to screen in April.
My dad died in 2004, and soon after that I began making this film. With small grants from arts organizations to buy film and return to my dad's last residence, I proceeded to document my experiences in processing his death, symbolized by the burden of moving his stuff from place to place, sorting and dispensing it. I've captured some surprising twists and turns in my life since then. I traveled to Iowa with Phil. Memories and dreams are illustrated through ink-drawn animation. Now, with an 82 minute cut,I'm ready to get this film into film festivals.
To anyone who has lost a parent or has put them into a nursing home, this film will resonate. The audiences that have seen it so far, have been moved and grateful. Our society doesn't teach us how to deal with death. We try to forget about it. So when it happens--as it always does--it knocks us out. I hope this film will open up a forum for talking about death and dying. The film also tackles the issues around father/son relationships, the struggle of becoming a man--often a battle to become different than the father--and the problems of expressing love between fathers and sons. In test screenings, the film also resonates with daughters, mothers and young people, who recognize their own families in the stories revealed here. I'm so excited about getting this film out, to watch the doors it opens, the emotions it releases and hopefully the healing it may bring.
With your help, we can get this film done. We need to purchase the rights to some of the music, create an HD-cam master and create promotional materials. I also want to create a website that will become a discussion forum about the issues raised in the film.
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