About the Film

Fear of dying is most often fear of the unknown. Because of this fear, far too many of us die in ways we would not wish to — often in ICUs, tethered to feeding tubes, in intolerable pain, or unconscious and unable to say a meaningful goodbye to our life and those we care about. Dying well is an option.

The film Speaking of Dying is meant to change this pattern by shining a bright light on death. In so doing, it offers us a pathway to a better ending. The film is one piece of a growing cultural awareness that all of us need to pay attention to our choices and wishes before there’s a crisis.

The 30-minute documentary captures the voices and stories of people becoming comfortable speaking of dying. Many of those you will meet in the film have overcome their fears and found comfort through their participation in the pioneering, community-based workshops of chaplain Trudy James and her Heartwork partners. You will also meet medical professionals who speak candidly about the importance of planning and discussing your plans with others.

The interviews and stories in the film reveal the complexities of end-of-life choices in today’s medical environment, while also demonstrating resources and attitudes that can empower us. You will discover that dying well is possible. We have more control over where and how we die than we may think. Good and peaceful endings are possible — if we can speak openly about dying.

About the Film Makers

Trudy James

Trudy James, MRE is a credentialed interfaith chaplain who graduated from the University of Kansas and Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She came to understand death and grief in new and deeper ways from her work directing an AIDS CareTeam program in Arkansas from 1989 to 1997 that served over 500 men and women CarePartners with AIDS. With love and support from their CareTeams, CarePartners talked openly about their own deaths, lived longer and died more peacefully. She was honored by President Clinton at the White House for her work with AIDS patients. Trudy continued her work with AIDS CareTeams in Seattle from 1997 to 2007 while also serving as a per diem Chaplain at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. When she retired, she created a small business called Heartwork. As a part of Heartwork, in 2008 Trudy began a series of community-based, end-of-life planning sessions called “A Gift for Yourself and Your Loved Ones”. The film Speaking of Dying grew out of her experiences with more than sixty of those groups (over 600 participants), and from her collaboration with Jennifer Jones, and from her desire to ensure that everyone knows a peaceful ending is possible.

Check out this piece about Trudy on the AARP website:

Life Reimagined: A New Direction at 75

Jennifer Jones

Jennifer Jones is an independent filmmaker/photographer with a special focus on telling stories about aging in America. As a newspaper photojournalist she has won numerous awards during her 20-year career, and served on the Board of the National Press Photographer’s Assn. (NPPA) for 8 years.

She has shot, produced and edited two short documentaries on environmental issues. “Troubled Waters”, a film about the FEMA flood buyout program in Pierce County, and “Hamilton: Town at the Tipping Point”, which details the consequences for those living in the floodway of the Skagit River.

When not doing filmmaking she is working with families as a gerontology specialist, having completed her Certificate in Gerontology at the UW this past year. She assists families who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s Disease and other challenges and is a certified coach for the UW’s Reducing Disability with Alzheimer’s Disease (RDAD) Program.

Catherine Wadley

Catherine Wadley is an award-winning independent editor and producer with over two decades of professional experience in the film, video and multimedia industries. She has worked for video production companies, KIRO-TV (CBS), corporate in-house post-production facilities, and non-profit organizations, editing projects in all genres. Her clients include Microsoft, World Vision, MOHAI, Experience Music Project, Group Health, T-Mobile, as well as numerous independent filmmakers.
Active in the Seattle film community, Catherine has served on the boards of 911 Media Arts Center and Women in Film/Seattle. She has worked as a mentor for Reel Grrls, an award-winning non- profit media arts and leadership training program for girls ages 9 to 19.

Catherine also provides post-production consulting, video editing classes and individual instruction. She owns and operates her a nonlinear editing business, Wadley Digital Media, in Seattle, Washington.

Catherine Grealish

Catherine Grealish is an award-winning LA-based composer for film, games, media and live performance. A multi-instrumentalist, she is a classical and jazz singer, and plays violin, piano, and guitar. Catherine recently won theIndependent Music Vox Pop Award for her soundtrack for the film All Things Hidden.
Catherine’s music has been featured in award-winning films, including the shorts The Last Light and Dressing Up. She has also scored many other independent films including The Last Buck Hunt,Citizen Heroes and All Things Hidden along with the popular Seattle web series Capitol Hill. Find out more at www.catherinegrealish.com.

Scot Charles and Lenny Delorey

Scot Charles and Lenny Delorey have been collaborating as Sound Editors/Designers for several years – reaching back to the days when they first met and worked together at Alpha Cine Film Labs in Seattle in the late 90s.  They have worked as a team on many award winning projects including Features, Short Films, Commercials and Documentaries. They did the sound editing and mixing  for several of Laszlo Pal’s outdoor adventure documentaries broadcast on PBS, including  “Three Flags Over Everest,” narrated by Robert Redford,  and “Sailing the World Alone” which won a National Emmy.  In 2010 they crafted the soundtrack for the feature film about car racing – Jay Roland’s “Clutch.”  The following year they completed the 3 episode PBS Nature series for Pontecorvo Productions “Bears of the Last Frontier,” and in 2014 the widely acclaimed “Snow Monkeys” Nature program which was narrated by Liam Neeson.

Scot currently owns and operates Studio Blue in Seattle, a post production facility specializing in sound design for film and video, and still finds time to mix and master music projects for select artists, as well as teach Audio Production for the University of Washington Outreach Program.
Lenny has his own studio in Boston – recent projects include a remix of the iconic theme from “The World” for PRI atWGBH, Boston.
HIgh speed internet allows them to continue working together on projects from their respective studios on opposite coasts. Their most recent sound design project was the PBS Nature Special “The Last Orangutan Eden” which aired Feb. 25th, 2015 on PBS.