I’ve known James all my life. He’s my cousin, my friend. And when we got the news about his terminal diagnosis, I had no words to talk about it. None of us did. But James insisted we learn, and for him, the conversation became a lifeline.
James spent most of his life working in theatre. The stage became the lens for which he saw the world. With the flair of a seasoned theatre producer, he made sense of things through creation. He saw life as performance, and perhaps, dying, became his final act.
When I first asked James if we could follow his journey and make a documentary about the dearth of language for dealing with death, he welcomed the idea wholeheartedly and became a key collaborator. From there we set about filming his trek for over three years. Death carries a weight like none other, and as the film portrays we often don't have the tools for it. The stress can become insurmountable and our family was not immune to this. But James worked hard to create new rituals around his dying including a DIY coffin, invites to aliens ten thousand years in the future, and quirky burial options involving rodent test subjects and liquid clay.
“There’s no way to positively talk about someone dying.” - James Pollard
With a knack for bringing people together and an unwavering commitment to family, James pioneered his own path. In facing his dying together, the rest of us learned to see death as a social process, rather than just a medical event.
Carmen Pollard, DirectorDownload Press Kit
Carmen Pollard brings a combined fifteen years’ experience as a picture and story editor, director, and visual effects artist to her feature documentary directorial debut For Dear Life. Her long list of credits includes work for the National Film Board, CBC, Knowledge Network, Disney, Warner Bros., MGM, Sony and Fox, among others. Carmen has been nominated for a primetime Emmy, a Gemini, and five Leo awards, including her 2008 win for Best Picture Editing on the NFB feature documentary Dirt.
Melanie’s award-winning films like o.com, A Stranger in Our Home and School of Secrets not only reflect the pulse of the times but the voices of those who've gone unheard. She’s also produced Carbon Hunters for CBC and BBC Worldwide, Liberia ’77 for Knowledge Network and TVO, and Foncie’s Photos for Knowledge Network. Melanie believes in making films that tell fascinating, truthful stories you'll want to talk about over dinner tonight, tomorrow, and next year.
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