Zenith Virago Returns to Austin, Texas for Deathwalker Trainings

Based on the popular response to the 2015 Austin Film Festival screenings of Zen & the Art of Dying, Zenith Virago was recently invited back to Texas to re-screen the film and conduct a 3-day deathwalker training and funeral master class at the Dharma Ranch Retreat Center in San Marcos, Texas. Thanks to Dharma Ranch owners Susan Fitz-Simon and Kelli Cotner for being such great hosts. It’s exciting to see the natural death care work that Zenith and the community of Byron Shire, Australia model resonate with other communities across the globe! Let’s all #DoDeathDifferently

May, 2016 Deathwalker Training and Funeral Master Class participants, along with Zenith Virago, at the Dharma Ranch Retreat Center in San Marcos, Texas.

May, 2016 Deathwalker Training and Funeral Master Class participants, along with Zenith Virago, at the Dharma Ranch Retreat Center in San Marcos, Texas.

 

Zen & The Art of Dying Screening and Panel Discussion at Kino 43 in Prague Challenges Death as Taboo

Thanks to Kino 43 for its Feb, 3, 2016 screening of Zen & the Art Of Dying in Prague! Kino 43 is the bimonthly alternative cinema and discussion series of Paralelní Polis, an artistic and cultural space in Prague committed to the circulation of free information and the fostering of alternative ideas and approaches to culture. Last night’s screening was followed by a panel discussion with a number of compelling Czech cultural and academic figures including (left to right) Miroslav Paulíček, professor of Historical Sociology, Miroslav Petříček, professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Blanka Dobešová, founder of Les Vzpomínek, the first Czech natural cemetery; Libor Vaněk, creator of ThinkAboutDeath.org a site for individuals to develop choices and statements about their last wishes and end-of-life choices; and Robin Kopecký, scholar of philosophy and history of science. Special thanks to Blanka for introducing the film to Kino 43 and to Barbora Johansson Pivonkova for organizing the event! Just wish we could have been there in person for the screening. Inspiring to see how a range of countries and cities are working to #DoDeathDifferently!

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In-Depth EdgeMedia Article on Zen & the Art of Dying

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Thanks to Kilian Melloy of Edge Media Network for his thoughtful and in-depth article on Zen & the Art of Dying in advance of our Jan. 14, 2016 Morbid Anatomy Museum screening. Melloy writes:

Openly gay documentary filmmaker Broderick Fox goes places others might not wish to venture, and does it with heart and grace. An early short documentary examined his brush with body dysmorphia (anorexia and compulsive exercise); his first full-length documentary, “The Skin I’m In,” featured at film festivals around the country a couple of years ago, examined Fox’s own experiences with addiction and alcoholism.

Now Fox follows up with “Zen and the Art of Dying,” a project that took him to Australia to meet and film Zenith Virago, a self-trained “deathwalker” who has made a profession of helping people — sick and well, young and old — think about and prepare for the eventuality of shuffling off this mortal coil. Read full article

 

Zen & the Art of Dying Receives Warm Reception at Austin Film Festival

We’ve just returned from the 2015 Austin Film Festival, where Zen & the Art of Dying received warm response at our two festival screenings as an Official Selection of the 2015 Heart of Film Program. Director Broderick Fox, Executive Producer Lee Biolos, and the film’s central subject Zenith Virago (who flew in from Australia!) conducted Q&A’s after both screenings. Also in attendance a the fest was the film’s Associate Producer Michele Bornheim. It was heartening to see how the film translated to mainstream American audiences, and Virago was able to connect with a range of Natural Death Care workers in the Austin Area. Next stop, the Santa Fe Film Festival in December!

Executive Producer Lee Biolos, Associate Producer Michele Bornheim, Deathwalker Zenith Virago, and Director Broderick Fox at the 2015 Austin Film Festival.

Executive Producer Lee Biolos, Associate Producer Michele Bornheim, Deathwalker Zenith Virago, and Director Broderick Fox at the 2015 Austin Film Festival.

Executive Producer Lee Biolos, Deathwalker Zenith Virago, and Director Broderick Fox at the 2015 Austin Film Festival.

Executive Producer Lee Biolos, Deathwalker Zenith Virago, and Director Broderick Fox at the 2015 Austin Film Festival.

Director Broderick Fox, Deathwalker Zenith Virago, and Executive Producer Lee Biolos at the 2015 Austin Film Festival.

Director Broderick Fox, Deathwalker Zenith Virago, and Executive Producer Lee Biolos at the 2015 Austin Film Festival.

Zen & the Art of Dying at the 2015 Austin Film Festival.

Zen & the Art of Dying at the 2015 Austin Film Festival.

Podcasts Feature Zen & the Art of Dying

This fall, Zen & the Art of Dying has been the subject of two different Podcasts!

Give a listen to the conversation between the documentary’s central subject Zenith Virago and Austin’s Palliative Care and Death Care specialist Deanna F. Cochran on Deanna’s podcast THE JOURNEY, recorded in advance of our November Austin Film Festival Screenings.

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Also check out the conversation between director Broderick Fox and Nicholas Snow on THE NICHOLAS SNOW SHOW, recorded just after the film’s screening at Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ Festival in September.

The Nicholas Snow Show

 

Zen & the Art of Dying an Official Selection of the 2015 Austin Film Festival

 

Austin Film Festival Official Selection

We’re thrilled to announce that Zen & the Art of Dying is an official selection of the 2015 Austin Film Festival

The film will screen as part of the Heart of Film Showcase, a selection of 14 films expressly chosen to showcase diverse storytelling across a range of genres and forms.

Regarding Zen & the Art of Dying, Austin Film Festival Senior Programmer Elizabeth Mims writes, “It’s such a powerful and enlightening film, and we can’t wait to help share it with the world.”
Fox will be attending the festival, along with the film’s central subject Zenith Virago, who will be traveling from Australia to participate. The film will screen twice–on Oct. 31 and again on Nov. 1. Q&A’s with Fox and Virago will follow each screening.

About the Austin Film Festival: For the last 22 years, the Austin Film Festival and associated Writer’s Conference has taken pride in championing great work from legendary, contemporary and rising talent. Known as the “Writers Festival,” AFF recognizes the writer as the core of the creative process in filmmaking. Diligently seeking strong examples of written and visual storytelling, AFF screens the highest caliber narrative, documentary and animated films. More info at: https://austinfilmfestival.com

Zen & the Art of Dying a Festival Favorite at Cinema Diverse 2015

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Director Broderick Fox and executive producer Lee Biolos at Cinema Diverse 2015.

On September 19, Zen & the Art of Dying screened as part of Cinema Diverse: the Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival. Special thanks to festival director Michael Green, and all the festival volunteers, fellow filmmakers, and attendees for giving us and the film such a warm welcome in Palm Springs! The film was among the Festival Favorites chosen by audiences. Read more here.

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Opening night at Cinema Diverse 2015.

2015 Australian Deathwalker Training Dates with Zenith Virago

Come participate in 2015 deathwalker trainings with Zenith Virago at sites across Australia this September and October!
Deathwalker Training/ Sydney Sept. 18-20
Deathwalker Training / Melbourne Sept. 25-27
Deathwalker Deepening/ Melbourne Sept. 28
Deathwalker Training/ Brisbane Oct. 16-18
Deathwalker Training/ Byron Bay Oct. 23-25
Deathwalker Deepening/ Byron Bay Oct. 26

Natural Death Care Centre Australia

ZEN & THE ART OF DYING & Director Broderick Fox slated for CINEMA DIVERSE 2015

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We’re excited for Zen & the Art of Dying to screen as part of Cinema Diverse: the Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival at the Camelot Theatre on Saturday September 19, 3:30 PM. For those of you in Southern California, or anyone else seeking an amazing getaway weekend in historic Palm Springs, come enjoy the festival with us! Full schedule and details at http://cinemadiverse.org.

An Emotional Premiere for Zen & the Art of Dying

Zen & the Art of Dying had its World Premiere on March 14, 2015 as the Closing Night Gala film of the 2015 Byron Bay International Film Festival. As Byron is the community the film documents, it was a sell-out crowd with all the film’s participants in attendance. Zenith Virago, the film’s central subject, chose to wait and watch the film for the first time surrounded by the community she serves, which was both exciting and nerve-wracking for filmmaker Broderick Fox and producer Lee Biolos, but as the pictures below attest, they could not have imagined a more heartfelt response from Virago and the community. Fox gave special thanks to the Byron Bay International Film Festival for their continued support and for being a part of the film’s genesis: he met Virago at the Byron Bay International Film Festival’s world premiere of his last feature documentary The Skin I’m In back in 2012.

The film received a range of press coverage, including a great review by Giuliana Cincotta for Film Ink, and Fox was a featured radio guest on Bay FM’s The Elephant Room with Nyck Jeanes

Thanks to Lyn McCarthy/Niche Pictures for capturing these great shots of the premiere!

Producer Lee Biolos, Zenith Virago, and director Broderick Fox at the Zen & the Art of Dying Premiere. Phot by Lyn McCarthy/Niche Pictures.

Producer Lee Biolos, Zenith Virago, and director Broderick Fox at the Zen & the Art of Dying Premiere. Photo by Lyn McCarthy/Niche Pictures.

Zenith Virago in front of a sold-out crowd at the Zen & the Art of Dying Premiere. Photo by Lyn McCarthy/Niche Pictures.

Zenith Virago in front of a sold-out crowd at the Zen & the Art of Dying Premiere. Photo by Lyn McCarthy/Niche Pictures.

Two thumbs up from Zenith Virago at the Zen & the Art of Dying Premiere with director Broderick Fox and producer Lee Biolos Photo by Lyn McCarthy/Niche Pictures.

Two thumbs up from Zenith Virago at the Zen & the Art of Dying Premiere with director Broderick Fox and producer Lee Biolos Photo by Lyn McCarthy/Niche Pictures.