Article originally published on February 27th, 2014.
In their newly released documentary, A Will for the Woods, filmmakers Amy Browne, Jeremy Kaplan, Tony Hale and Brian Wilson explore one man’s journey as he faces his own mortality. The film shines its light on sustainable alternatives to traditional burials.
While battling lymphoma, Clark has discovered a burgeoning movement that uses burial to conserve and restore natural areas, forgoing contemporary funeral practices that operate at the ecosystem’s expense. Boldly facing his mortality, Clark and his partner Jane have become passionate about green burial, compelled by both the environmental benefits and the idea that one can remain within the cycle of life, rather than being cut off from it. The spirited pair have inspired a compassionate local cemeterian, and together they aim to use green burial to save a North Carolina woods from being clear-cut. (From A Will for the Woods official press kit.)
While opening to somewhat mixed critical reviews, the film has been embraced by viewers. It has won numerous awards including Best Documentary & Audience Award at the 2014 San Francisco Indie Fest, the Audience Award at the 2013 New Orleans Film Festival, and the Audience Award at the 2013 Rhode Island International Film Festival.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, co-producer/director Amy Browne discussed how the film has been received within the funeral industry.
We played at the ICCFA convention, which is the International Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association. That was a big deal. A lot of people were really touched by the story and peripherally we influenced some directors in funeral homes to provide this option….Conventional folks would just have their mindset in one traditional way where the only way to have a funeral that’s respectful is to have this elaborate casket and flowers and a manicured lawn cemetery setting. But those are also the types of people who turned their back on cremation twenty years ago and kind of lost out on that as the cremation rate continued to rise. As the funeral director says in the film, the main issue as to why some haven’t embraced it within the industry is that they don’t want to appear like they’ve been doing it wrong or that there is something the matter with these traditions.
Read the full story here: A Will for the Woods
A Will to the Woods is currently in limited release and is available for private screenings. Information on where you can see the film is available on the official website.