Holding Our Own: Embracing the End of Life is a documentary film that shows aging and dying as anything but morbid, and death as the final healing in the hospice way. Art and music are combined as a way to bring people into a subject that they'd rather resist.
The film begins with an art opening in New York City and with the commentaries of curator and others as they view Deidre Scherer's large fabric and thread paintings (see annotation of "Surrounded by Family and Friends")--of people at the last moments of their lives. The artist has captured for us, even in the midst of suffering, genuine moments of tenderness.
An interview with palliative care physician Ira Byock guides the conversation, presenting a most refreshing doctor's perspective. The commentaries of hospice personnel, artist, and members of the Hallowell singing group punctuate the profoundly intimate scenes, filmed in institutional settings and in homes. The singers, who sing to the dying patients, see beyond their own fears; they recognize and want to honor dying persons for who they are: "This is not about singing it right for an audience...its about being totally present for the people you're singing for...and wanting it to be a gift." They model the magic of human connection called by Byock "the ground substance of therapeutics" The healing is mutual: "I can feel sad, cry, I can feel a heavy heart...but it's not depressing....It's a wonder...you can feel love, joy, sorrow, but so alive.... you feel the blessing of your own life."
The Vermont International Film Festival is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enrich the community and bring the world to Vermont through film.
Launched in 2014 by a group of filmmakers, archivists and concerned members of the public who wished to ensure the survival of artists’ films in Vermont, VAMP officially became a program of VTIFF in May 2015. The VAMP committee has broadened the initial concept to include all types of films and videos made by VT filmmakers or shot in Vermont.
The VAMP Database
The Vermont Archive Movie Project (VAMP) online database is a searchable website of Vermont films past & present, and locally produced programs. The VAMP database is generously sponsored by Vermont PBS.