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The Last Act: A Short Documentary about Life and Death

Directed by:

Amy Benson

2023

39.5 minutes

SCREENINGS

Friday, March 8, 2024 at 7:00 PM

Sunday, October 29, 10:15 AM

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On-Demand (Worldwide). October 30 - November 5

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This film is sponsored by:

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ABOUT THE FILM

WINNER: 2023 FHFF BEST OVERALL IN-THEATRE SHORT


An active nonagenarian actress who is good at living contemplates her roles in life after she realizes that it’s unsafe for her to continue to live on her own. She shops for a retirement community and says goodbye to her best friend.


Filmmakers Statement

Patsy Benson, a 92-year-old retired actress, housewife, and widow, lives alone. She cooks, shops, swims, laughs, walks, makes friends. Her eyesight and hearing are failing her. When the fire alarm went off in her apartment and she was unable to negotiate the dark stairwell by herself, she realized with finality that it was unsafe for her to continue to live on her own.


There is no room for her in our apartment. We don’t know if she can afford an assisted living facility, but we schedule tours to check them out anyway. Neither of us wants to make this big decision for her to move. But, by golly, we will film the process as we do.


We are telling our story as it happens. Filming becomes the impetus for difficult conversations. Our creativity is making us courageous.


This film is lyrical, frank, poignant, and funny. The camera has been on for over a year, while we talk about the finances, as she visits her best friend in hospice, as she says goodbye to photographs she will never see again, and (gulp) as we (I) begin to come to terms with her mortality.

About the Director

Amy has been producing, directing, and editing documentary films since 2005. Her feature about the Darnal family in Nepal, Drawing the Tiger, was a granted project of the Sundance Institute, Fork Films, and recipient of the Points North Fellowship. It premiered at Hot Docs in April 2015 and screened in over 50 festivals worldwide. It was awarded the Best Feature Jury prize by the Northwest Film Forum, the Documentary Feature Award from CAAM Fest, the Jury Award for the Best Documentary at the Asiatica Film Festival, and the UNICEF award at Film South Asia. The sequel, The Eldest Son, premiered at the Kathmandu Mountain Film Festival in 2017 and is featured on Tasveer TV. Her ongoing work with the subjects of these two films continues as they film their lives in Nepal during and post-COVID.


She is a co-producer of From Here, a film following four young second-generation immigrants in their search for belonging which won the audience award from Northwest Film Forum in 2021, Best Feature from the Human Rights Film Festival and will be available on PBS’s America Reframed in the June of 2023. She is also currently producing a film about the Seattle Chinese Community Girls Drill Team which will be released later this year.


The Last Act: A Short Documentary about Life and Death

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CREDITS

Amy Benson

Director


Kristin Ougendal

Writer


Amy Benson

Producer


Patsy Benson

Key Cast

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