Death is natural, but acceptance and finding peace in that are not. Now, perhaps more than ever, people are facing this idea. Does letting someone go make you a monster? Does keeping them alive make you selfish? These are the questions Peter and Hannah must answer as their sister lays dying.
Mission StatementAs a filmmaker, my goal is to open up windows to the viewers. Windows to different worlds, experiences, and lives. I believe the more open you are and the more vulnerable, the wider those windows get. As a female filmmaker, my goal is to offer opportunities to other women to be seen and heard now.
About The Project
No one warns you about death. Not the cruelty, but the inability and lack of control. The truth is no one can tell you about death. There is no way to put into words the feeling of losing a loved one. The aching hole that is left in your life, and how you begin marking occasions not with their presence, but by the lack thereof. How do you talk about the first major holiday without them, when you constantly look to the door or their usual seat at the table? It's like muscle memory, you just feel like they'll be there, and you can't keep your eyes from flickering over... Although, there's something even harder about the first holiday where you don't. How can you sum up the moment you realize you've stopped waiting for them to come home?
Broken Things is a story born of my own experiences with loss and grief. In 2018 I lost my Uncle. His name was David Francis; he turned 51 while in a coma and died the day after the Superbowl. We were very close. When I lost him, I lost a second father and one of my closest friends.
Here we are together on my 4th birthday.
It wasn't quick. It was long and drawn out with his health deteriorating over weeks. He went in for something simple, his heart stopped, he went into a coma, and never woke up again. I give these details, not for shock value, but because it's the reality. We are so good at dressing things up, and pretending like they happen nicely, but the truth is death is often ugly and always painful. That's what this film is about.
It's about the long and painful version of death. How we process and move through such times.
As wonderful as my uncle was, he was never much of a planner, there was no living will to give us direction. I remember distinctly the day we decided to let him die. The doctor (whose name I can no longer remember) called us into the inner sitting room. The ICU had two waiting rooms, one large one for general seating, and one on the other side of the locked door leading to the patients. It was always kept darker and cooler in there. They had a mini-fridge and several recliners. This is where you went when everything got to be too much, and you needed a break from the rest of the world.
My uncle was the type of man to never meet a stranger, and if he came into your life you loved him.
David Francis and friends from high school.
As a result, there were many of us present. We had to get creative with the seating as we soon ran out of actual chairs. I let my mother have an armchair and I sat at her feet on the worn ottoman. The doctor sat with his legs crossed, in his shoes that were obviously shined, meticulously adjusting his pants every once in a while so they covered his socks, told us the man we all loved so dearly wasn't going to get better. Of course, he wasn't able to say that in such a blunt way. The fact, that they could keep him alive on a ventilator for at least some time, and the fact that we had all been shown miracles by the media kept him from saying this.
We were inevitably split in two. Those of us that knew in our hearts argued he wouldn't want to be kept alive on a machine. If he could never again "stir the pot", tell a joke that made us laugh until we cried, tell a story from high school for the hundredth time still somehow making it interesting and hilarious, he would not want to live. He was a jokester, a modern-day Puck, and for him to lose all that? We knew what he'd want. However, some of us wanted so badly to keep him. To keep the hope that someday he might open his eyes, sit up alive once more, and start giving us all shit about how emotional we all were. It was a dream that some just couldn't shake.
His last trip to Florida.
So this is the story of Broken Things. Peter and Hannah find themselves in the impossible position of choosing life or death for someone who meant the world to them. Hannah believes Kaylee would never want her body to continue existing when her soul was essentially gone, but Peter can't let go of the dream. The dream that she might be the exception. That their family might be the receivers of the miracles you hear about on the news- "Woman Diagnosed as Brain Dead Awakens from Coma."
She wants to move on...
She wants to keep fighting...
Photo by Nine Köpfer on Unsplash
The world has essentially ended, and the three siblings have been surviving in a remote cabin for some time. The disease which wiped out the majority of the population has been kept at bay through careful adherence to protocol and safety attire, but now Kaylee is sick. The chip in her arm which monitors health is steadily changing colors. Soon the light will change to the third and final color, and her siblings will know there's no way to bring her back.
After being so careful for so long, they must also face the possible truth that Kaylee had simply given up the fight and allowed herself to get sick. How does that factor into the decision making process? What happens when we look in the mirror and admit that our choices are always influenced by what we want, and not what is best for our loved one?
Photo by Isi Parente on Unsplash
This is not just Kaylee, Peter and Hannah's story, this is my story. It is my family's story and the story of anyone that has ever sat in a hospital room and decided to let go.
In order to tell this story, I am asking for your help. We are currently in pre-production mode, so we are making the final edits to the script, scouting locations, and beginning the casting process. Already the costs are beginning to add up, and any contribution you make will go a long way.
Along with some wonderful incentives we've come up with as a team, we are also happy to offer a private link to the film once we are through with our film festival runs. This means our contributors will be able to see the film, and what they helped create before the rest of the general public.
Thank you so much for your consideration.
*A note on Covid-19*
We on this crew, and at Montana State University in general, are taking the virus very seriously. All members of the crew will be masked and wearing gloves at all times. We will be maintaining the 6ft distance as much as possible, and all gear will be thoroughly sanitized and quarantined prior to use. The health of our community is dependent on individual responsibility, and we will all be doing our part.
Use the WishList to pledge cash and loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an incentive directly.
About This Team
As a female filmmaker, I intimately know the struggles women face in the industry every day. That’s why I felt very strongly about having a strong female crew to help produce Broken Things.
I, myself, am the writer and director of Broken Things. I love writing and felt compelled to share Broken Things because of an impactful experience with my uncle. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeWYov_AXTS3bMlDt_8Arig
Currently, and still growing, our team also includes our talented Cinematographer Hallie Swain. Hallie loves everything about cameras; especially manipulating them to tell beautiful stories. She’s already crafted beautiful videos and images you can see on our Instagram and our promo video.
Madison Blank-Plautz is our producer. She is hardworking and eager to help bring Broken Things to life. Check out https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfwNn9awFj3udZMa4ubokSA/ to see more of her work.
Jaiden Turner is the editor for Broken Things. I’m excited to work closely with Jaiden while completing the film. Jaiden is not only a creative editor but also the recipient of the Taco Bell Live Mas scholarship for three years running. https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZ-ELJ6XsfJdpzGgQlUnz-fL3AzXFIUgb is where you can see more of her work.
Our gaffer is the exceptional Tia Curtis. Tia loves lighting and strives to be a gaffer upon completion of her studies at Montana State University. Tia is innovative and hardworking -- a perfect fit for Broken Things. Go to her youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC956P-QYM7CPJt7DZkF2bsQ to see some of her work.
Sienna Riley is our Production Designer. Sienna is an art and film double major, which lends her a unique way of designing. Sienna is extremely excited to help create the elaborate world of Broken Things.