UPDATE Nov. 2: Here's the full report of our Santa Fe adventure!
The Santa Fe International Film Festival (SFiFF) is October 18-22, Wednesday through Sunday. Aditi Sethi, M.D., our executive director, will be in New Mexico for the world premiere of “The Last Ecstatic Days” on the U.S. festival circuit.
We are delighted to share that our SFiFF world premiere screening on Saturday, October 21 at 7:15 p.m. ET is SOLD OUT!
Called “Toronto, but on a much smaller scale” by Deadline Hollywood and “a young Sundance” by indieWire, SFiFF lets filmmakers connect with industry professionals and distributors, showcasing emerging and established filmmakers by screening features and shorts. Recent guests have included Oliver Stone, Shirley MacLaine, Robert Redford, Gena Rowlands, Ethan Hawke, Wes Studi, and John Sayles.
After the premiere, Aditi will be participating in a post-screening Q&A with David Seidler, Oscar-winning writer of “The King’s Speech,” Scott Kirschenbaum, the film’s director, and Linda Rothman, mother of the movie’s subject, Ethan Sisser. Our CCLD team will also be connecting with industry professionals to help spread our message of the value of living, dying, and grieving in community.
If you haven’t seen the movie yet, it’s required viewing for anyone with strong feelings about healing American society’s broken relationship with death, and the idea that the current system fails at making people aware of how much power they have over how they choose to die, and how much those choices impact the end of life.
Photo: Ethan Sisser
Ethan Sisser died of brain cancer during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, somehow creating an identity as social media’s positive voice at the end of life. Sisser shared an unflinching look at the reality of his physical decline, while also sharing his mantra of being “empowered, embodied, and ecstatic, just as I am” – a powerful statement from a man who had had half of his skull removed as part of living with terminal cancer.
Photo: Ethan's death care community
The community that formed around Ethan allowed him to not only have his last 15 days of life filmed as one of his last wishes, but also inspired Aditi to reinvent herself, from hospice physician to founder of the Center for Conscious Living and Dying, a North Carolina nonprofit dedicated to direct care, education, and community support at the end of life.
Scott and Aditi are also part of “All Healing Is Release: Conscious Dying as a Rite of Passage,” a panel on conscious dying on Friday, October 20. They will be joined by Roshi Joan Halifax, a hospice caregiver and Buddhist teacher, as well as CCLD Elder Council member Greg Lathrop, a rites of passage facilitator.
Click here to view the livestream of the panel on Friday, October 20 at 5:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. MT.
Lastly, as a special offering, CCLD member Ursula Goebels-Ellis will design an interactive community altar at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe between October 18-22.
The next festival stops for “The Last Ecstatic Days” are the Boston Globe GlobeDocs Festival and the Turkish Death & Grief Festival.
Please join us in wishing success to our team as they help spread the word about CCLD out west – we’ll share the full report when Aditi, Greg & co. return later in October!