The NFB is committed to respecting your privacy

We use cookies to ensure that our site works efficiently, as well as for advertising purposes.

If you do not wish to have your information used in this way, you can modify your browser settings before continuing your visit.

Learn more


| 1 h 10 min

This documentary introduces us to Stephen Jenkinson, once the leader of a palliative care counselling team at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital. Through his daytime job, he has been at the deathbed of well over 1,000 people. What he sees over and over, he says, is "a wretched anxiety and an existential terror" even when there is no pain. Indicting the practice of palliative care itself, he has made it his life's mission to change the way we die - to turn the act of dying from denial and resistance into an essential part of life.

  • writer
    Tim Wilson
  • director
    Tim Wilson
  • producer
    Annette Clarke
  • editor
    Hannele Halm
  • cinematography
    Tim Wilson
  • sound recordist
    Alex Salter
    Ao Loo
    Kate Kechnie
    Tim Wilson
  • additional camera
    Derek Rogers
    Kate Kechnie
    Kent Nason
  • production supervisor
    Patsy Coughran
  • sound editor
    Lorraine Clarke
  • original music
    Nance Ackerman
    Jamie Alexander Alcorn
  • musician
    Jamie Alexander Alcorn
    Jamie Gatti
    Hillary Brown
    Nance Ackerman
    Peter Brown
    Sean Kemp
  • additional music
    Leo Zhang
  • consultant
    Barry Stevens
    Christopher Lowry
    Manfred Becker
  • still photograph
    Heather Rivlin
  • assistant editor
    Ariel Nasr
    Trevor Schellinck
  • post-production technical support
    Amélie Bolduc
    Danielle Raymond
    Isabelle Painchaud
    Louis Dupuis
    Martine Forget
    Patsy Coughran
    Pierre Dupont
    Pierre Ferlatte
    Steve Hallé
    Sylvain Desbiens
  • online editor
    Yannick Carrier
  • re-recording
    Jean Paul Vialard
  • transcription services
    Candice Desormeaux
  • titles
    Sam Decoste
  • marketing
    Amy Stewart Gallant
    Candice Desormeaux
    Philip Moscovitch
  • production coordinator
    Stephanie Coolen
    Vanessa Larsen
  • centre administrator
    John William Lutz
  • executive producer
    Kent Martin


Enjoy the NFB experience on your favourite device. 


Ages 16 to 17

Ethics and Religious Culture - Religious Diversity/Heritage
Family Studies/Home Economics - Aging/Death and Dying
Indigenous Studies - Identity/Society

Before viewing the film, have a discussion with students on their beliefs about death, dying, and the after-life, reflecting on how our religious views affect our beliefs. Post viewing: Suggest reasons why Steve Wilkinson has such unique convictions. Where do his ideas come from? As a group, discuss what Wilkinson means when he says “death makes us into human beings.” Comment on and identify the many examples of symbolism that director Tim Wilson uses in his film. What purpose does the symbolism serve?

Also available

Embed this code on your site

Video player width

by Reset