Grief Dialogues

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Reimagine‘s mission is to help all people face adversity, loss, and mortality, and channel the hard parts of life into meaningful action and growth.

Honoring Choices persuades families to consider planning now, when there’s still time. Decide, share, and understand each other’s wishes for the end of our lives. It’s a gift loved ones give to each other.

Film Synopsis

film synopsis

When Bob, Denise and Maggie’s elderly father, receives his terminal cancer diagnosis, they encourage  him to prepare his end-of-life care plan so there’s no misunderstanding of what he wants or doesn’t  want. But Bob is not having any part of it even though his doctor is encouraging him too. Throw in some  family dynamics, disagreements and resentments, plus a healthy dose of stubbornness, and the scene  changes dramatically when Bob is hospitalized.

film purpose

Through the film’s story, we:

  • encourage families to engage in advance care planning and to help them start making better informed decisions for themselves and their families,
  • share our experiences and offering meaning,
  • explore/understand other people’s situations, and
  • see how the characters handle adversity and conflict and to ponder how they themselves would handle a similar situation.

Because, after all, who doesn’t love a good story. 

The Power Of A Story

According to the Society of Neuroscience, stories wrestle with difficult emotions and process confusing events that help people regain a sense of control when they need it most. Telling stories is the best way to teach, persuade, and understand one another. We remember and make connections more easily when information or experience is pinned to a story. Stories provide structure and order. They make ideas and experiences familiar, predictable, and comforting.

Honoring Choices is adapted from the stage play Honoring Choices originally commissioned by and performed for Honoring Choices PNW in 2020. Zoom adaptations with diverse casts, including a performance in Spanish, were presented for Reimagine: Life, Loss, and Love and for Honoring Choices PNW in honor of National Healthcare Decision Day in 2021.

Crew

ElizabethCoplan

Elizabeth Coplan is an award-winning playwright and a writer for and the founder of Grief Dialogues, a non-profit using art to start new conversations about dying, death, and grief. Elizabeth’s first film, 8 AM, won several awards for selection including the Seattle International Film Festival, Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival, Anchorage Film Festival, Byron Bay Festival (Australia), Cleveland International Film Festival, and YES Film Festival in Columbus, IN.

Bonnie Bizzell has advocated for patients and families for over 15 years. She has worked in advance care  planning, education, communications, and politics. Her new venture aims to disrupt the funeral service  industry by building a community where loved ones can find final rest in the open at sea or on public  lands, and grievers are supported through their own transformations.

DominickLaruffaJr

Dominick LaRuffa, Jr. is an award-winning Broadway producer, actor, and the founder of Blue Collar  Artist studio where he coaches actors across all mediums and skill levels as well as providing consulting  and dramaturgy services for both emerging and established producers and playwrights

JoeBenedetto

Joe Benedetto is a writer, producer, director, whose experience working on films began at age 20 when  he directed the feature film UNLIMITED POTENTIAL (a script he wrote at age 16). His lengthy career in  screenwriting and film directing includes the upcoming film DEVASTATION directed by longtime Martin  Scorsese script supervisor Martha Pinson and stars John Leguizamo, Jimmy Smits, and Lorenza Izzo.

Jenilyn N. Rodriguez

Jenilyn N. Rodriguez is an intuitive healer, best-selling author, actress, singer, film producer, and speaker living in the New York City area. Her production company is called Jen X Productions & her Spiritual healing practice is Starlight & Sacred Tree. She is also a global energy healing teacher, acting advisor, consulting hypnotist and Law of Attraction life coach. Jenilyn delights in examining the world, finding joy & magic wherever possible, and retelling old tales with hope and healing!

Halle Williams

Halle Williams is an artist, digital brand strategist, the Marketing Director for Grief Dialogues and a host  on their podcast, Out Of Grief Comes Art. She also sits as an Executive Advisory Board Member at Pacific  Lutheran University School of Business.

CAST

Zena Woody recently shot two short films, Captive 2022 in which she was the Lead and A Nouveau Christmas Story 2022 as the Supporting Lead. Both films should be releasing late 2022 to film festivals and on streaming platforms. Zena was also recently a guest star in the episodic TV series A Good Cop. Past credits include Law & Order SVU and numerous commercials. Learn more about Zena Woody: ZenaWoody.com

Liora Harvin is an actor, dancer, singer, playwright and screenwriter. She studied extensively in New York City and for two years in London where she studied theatrical Shakespearean technique. Many years later Liora performed her one-woman show at the world famous Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Performing has always been an adventure where she learns something new about life and the human experience.
Tracy Evans _ Denise

Tracy Evans was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up primarily on Long Island. She attended university to study Chemistry and later Atmospheric Science. It was during the pandemic she chose to follow a long-held passion of acting. She began her studies with acting classes, improv workshops and voiceover lessons. Over the last few years, she has been in featured work, commercial work, and worked on the crime documentary, Evil Lives Here. She is in in post-production on several independent films and is recently completed writing on her first short she is preparing to shoot later this summer.

Frank C Williams _ Bob

Frank C. Williams is a New York-based actor and member of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and member of the Screen Actors Guild. Conceived in New York City, born Baltimore, Maryland. At a very young age, he cultivated his love to entertain performing in neighborhood backyards, school plays and singing in grade school, high school and church choirs. Using life experience as the basic reference for some of his characters, Frank is a US Navy Veteran, Computer Specialist and System Computer Analyst and studies at Negro Ensemble Theatre Company as well as studying with Acting coach Roger Simons of Roger Simon Studios which focus on both contemporary and classical works. He continues to use his life experiences, training and daily observations of everyday life to create and feed his characters as an actor and an artist in several film shorts and full-length features. Frank has starred in the NBC dramas “Law & Order SVU,” and NBC’s hit “The Blacklist ” as one of Red Reddington’s Army members. Most recently, 2015-2018  Frank has a recurring role as DS Agent John Kendall on the CBS television show “Madam Secretary” with Téa Leoni as Secretary Elizabeth McCord’s Diplomatic Security detail. 

CHARACTERS

MAGGIE

Mid-40s, attorney, dressed in designer clothes. Tall, thin, professional, sophisticated. Little patience. Married. Adult children. One daughter in medical school.

MELISSA

Mid-20’s, OB-GYN resident at Columbia Medical School. Tall, like her mom, confident but relaxed. Enjoys a good laugh. Loves her grandpa dearly.

DENISE

Early 40s, former graphic artist, housewife, soccer mom. Her children go to parochial school. She attends church but is not overly religious.

BOB

In 70s, retired from working at a large plumbing company his entire life. Blue-collar worker. Widower. Set in his ways. Spends his days playing crossword puzzles. TV set is always on. Sitcom reruns. Blinds in house are drawn.

Additional Credits

Director of Photography = Ken Kotowski
1st AC = Charlotte Azaceta
Sound = Robert Sumberg O’Haire
1st AD = Maria Stayetsky
Production Designer = Courtney Hansen
HMU = Andrea Saavedra
Key PA & Script Supervisor = Nadira Babajanova