Film Reviews


Facing Death . . . with open eyes

Gemlike, Focused and Pure! Death can be a stunning event that tears the fabric of life, especially in a culture like ours that gives us no guidance to prepare for it. This documentary wisely avoids trying to provide answers to the challenge of death. Instead it takes a gentle and heartfelt look at some of the questions we humans have about life’s end. The film captures the mystery, awe and beauty that often surround those who have the courage to confront death face to face, with eyes and minds open. We are reminded that those who have gone before us have prepared the way so that we, should we choose to listen, might find comfort and peace on our own journey.
Brad Stuart MD
Senior Medical Director, Sutter Care at Home

Death is not an easy subject to talk about in a way that does not strike fear and dread, but this film does it as we see and hear the transient beauties of falling leaves, water in motion, people changing as illness transforms them both physically and spiritually. This is a transformational, aesthetic and wise work for every one of us who is now alive, and who will one day make the journey through and beyond death.
Carolyn North
Author of The Experience of A Lifetime: Living Fully, Dying Consciously

The poetic images mixed with well-crafted interviews of deep feeling and spiritually vibrant people made watching a joy.
~ Rev. Maura Singer
Spiritual Care Counselor, Alta Bates Comprehensive Cancer Center

I thought of my own death my attachments, what I would miss. What is it that I would like to start or complete? What comfort can I offer to those I leave behind. When I ask myself how I will face the inevitable, I answer, ‘from all directions, given the time.
Chris Gray
Bay Area Musician

I have hosted many patient events at the Cancer Center and the discussion after seeing “Facing Death” was probably the most real and heartfelt dialogue between patients I have witnessed.
~ Naomi Hoffer
Program Manager, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Your film was very well received. I heard many thank yous that really belong to you. One of the participants left a handwritten note: “I found it good to see conversation on death that brought light to the subject. So many are afraid of what they don’t know.
Susan Mingesz
Director, Gilda’s Club, SE Wisconsin

It was an excellent film. I enjoyed the different individuals interviewed and related to those who say illness is a new normal – but still filled with much wisdom and mindfulness of life.
~ Cancer Survivor
Cancer Support Community

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Caring for Dying: the art of being present

It was great listening to patient/family stories, seeing a common theme, the closeness shared, personal growth, allowing someone to die on their own terms, in their own environment.
~ Carolyn Berson, RN
John Muir Health Cancer Institute

This has put things in perspective. It made me realize how vulnerable the patients are and how my interactions with them can affect them.
Medical Assistant
Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, CA

Evocative, Moving, Inspirational…As a side benefit, the film serves as a powerful reminder of what truly is most important in life…nurturing relationships.
Michael Stephens, MFT
Professor, JFK University

This film makes an effective case for more openness, intimacy, and presence throughout the experience of death for both the dying and the living. The frankness and eloquence of the three caregivers and Dr. Peticolas communicate the importance of seeking a more satisfying approach to death than the fear and avoidance too prevalent in our culture.
Liz Ruhland
Library Manager, Kensington Library

This short film packs a lot of provocative material into a little less than 30 minutes. Would make an excellent discussion starter for groups wanting to explore end of life care from either the patient or caregiver point of view.
Blaine Waterman
Film & Television Specialist
, San Francisco Public Library

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The Heart of Grieving

Engaging!  Provocative!  Expansive!  Uplifting!  Beautifully produced! The many facets of grief so wonderfully presented and expressed! Opens ones own heart to grief unexplored and remembered!
~ Daniel Potapshyn, M.A.
Case Manager, ALS Association Golden West Chapter

Beautiful! Excellent Interviews!  Good Production! Profound! Helped to heal some of my grieving.
~ Reviewers Comments
Western Psychological Association Film Festival

A beautiful film!  Very affecting, very moving.  Superb job!  This film might well have been called ‘The Art of Grieving’ as it is, in itself, a work of art . . . With her astute filmmaker’s eye, Michelle captures human emotion through the landscapes of the natural world, letting forest and birds and moving water speak as eloquently of loss and renewal as do the survivors who speak to us in words.
~ Carolyn North
Author of The Experience of A Lifetime: Living Fully, Dying Consciously

The film explores the vast and pathless landscape of grief even giving us glimpses of the scenery, the topography, of emotion… it touches on an amazing variety of experiences, truths, and aspects of grief in a very short time.  The information flow is quite dense and yet easy and clear.  No false notes or odd gaps.
~ Roy Gesley
Chaplin, Kaiser Hospice

It helps to be reminded that everyone will face the emotions, worry and anxiety of coping with the loss of someone or something.
~ Clinical Research Associate
Charlotte Maxwell Complimentary Clinic
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