made Roger Ebert's top 10 documentaries of 2009 - "I've never seen anything like it."
Awards for Must Read After My Death: International Grand Prix at FID Marseille, Golden Magnolia at Shanghai TV Fest, Odissea Prize for 1st Doc at DocLisboa, Gala Opening Film at FATP Brussels, Audience Award and Special Mention in Florence, Special Mention in Pamplona
Filmmaker Morgan Dews was close to his grandmother Allis, but it wasn’t until after her death in 2001 that he became aware of an astounding archive she’d amassed throughout the 1960s. Filled with startlingly intimate and candid audio recordings detailing her family’s increasingly turbulent lives, the collection also contained hundreds of silent home movies, photographs and written journals. Using only these found materials, Dews has fashioned a searing family portrait that affords fly-on-the-wall access to one family’s struggles amid an America on the verge of dramatic transformation.
Must Read After My Death follows Allis, her husband Charley, and their four children in Hartford, Connecticut. Charley’s work takes him to Australia four months out of the year, so the couple purchases Dictaphone recorders to stay in touch throughout his extended absences. Allis, a modern woman at least a decade ahead of her time, struggles against conformity – against the conventional roles of wife and mother. She finds the recordings cathartic and with the family’s cooperation, incorporates them into their everyday existence. When the family turns to psychologists and psychiatrists, their strife increases and the recordings turn progressively darker – even desperate. All the while, Dews employs the family’s many home movies and the seemingly placid, typically American façade that they convey, as visual counterpoint to the raw and sobering tape recordings.
Composer and recording artist Paul Damian Hogan of Frances has created a lush and engrossing score. Renowned Design Director, Lisa Kwon, fashioned stellar graphics and animated sequences for the film. Alison Bourke of This Film is Not Yet Rated and Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession brought her Executive Producer powers. Brett Graves mixed the sound at Creative Bubble. Mark Lipsky and Brain and Brook Devine of Gigantic Film brought the film forward to the public.
Written, produced, directed, and edited by Morgan Dews.
Mostly hidden away in his New York apartment, armed with his hard-drives, Morgan emerged when Must Read After My Death began to look better than terrible. Soliciting help from his friends MRAMD came into its own.
It had an amazing theatrical release thanks to all the hands that helped.