Seats at the Table
Update: Filming of Seats at the Table has been completed. But we’ve still got a long way to go. We’d love to have your support during these final stages.
|Seats at the Table will be a feature documentary about UVA’s Russian Literature Professor Andrew Kaufman’s class which brings together university students with juvenile detention residents as they study classic works of Russian Literature.With its focus on the big picture ideas regarding the meaning of life, good versus evil, and our place as an individual within our society, they discuss their lives openly and honestly. Each group’s stereotypical views are replaced by a much more nuanced understanding of each other, which belies their original preconceptions. It is a remarkably unique example of experiential learning, and past participants from both sets of students have often referred to this class as truly a life-changing experience.
Having spent years with another wonderful teacher, John Hunter, working to replicate his World Peace Game, the subject of my documentary World Peace and other 4th-Grade Achievements, I met and observed Kaufman’s class for the past two years, and was once again truly moved by another example of the unlimited potential that arises from the relationship between a masterful and compassionate teacher and his engaged students. My hope is that this film will truly inspire and teach others to consider replicating this example as a model for their own communities.
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Filming of Seats at the Table has been completed. But we’ve still got a long way to go. We’d love to have your support during these final stages.
death becomes you
|death becomes you is a feature documentary film focusing on the people whose lives and work intersect with the journey of a human body after death until its final resting place. The mission is to explore individuals’ perspectives on death, opening up the conversation about a universal subject that is often accompanied by the fear to discuss or even contemplate. It is currently in production, with the completion scheduled for late in 2016.
The film’s focus will be on the people who in some way “touch the body”—nurses, doctors, and orderlies at the hospital; the person who transport the body from the hospital to the funeral home; the funeral home director; those who prepare the body for the viewing; the florist who makes the floral arrangements; the person who carves the tombstone; cemetery workers who bury the body and take care of the grounds; and the worker at the crematorium, among others. Along with simply spending time observing their daily tasks, the film will explore their own personal thoughts and beliefs about their shared experience.
By spending time with the individuals who deal with death in a daily and physical way, and by allowing these subjects to openly discuss their own individual perspectives on death, the film will subtly lead the viewer to look within themselves to ask questions that many people are afraid to discuss openly and honestly. By using the collective experience created by public screenings, my hope is that the film will generate open and honest discussions of death and how we perceive it.