Scene from the film Must Read After My Death
Scene from the film Must Read After My Death
Scene from the film Must Read After My Death
Scene from the film Must Read After My Death
Scene from the film Must Read After My Death
Scene from the film Must Read After My Death
Scene from the film Must Read After My Death
Scene from the film Must Read After My Death
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Must Read After My Death

  • United States
Audio Tracks 

Filmmaker Morgan Dews was very 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, so the couple purchases Dictaphone recorders as a way to stay in touch throughout Charlie’s extended absences. A modern woman at least a decade ahead of her time, Allis 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.

Official website of the film.


  • Original title
    Must Read After My Death
  • Direction
  • Screenplay
    Morgan Dews
  • DOP
    Allis, Charley, Anne, Chuck, Bruce, Douglas
  • Editing
    Morgan Dews
  • Music
    Paul Damien Hogan
  • Sound
    Allis, Charley, Anne, Chuck, Bruce, Douglas
  • Duration
    74 min (46-90 min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • United States
  • Colour
    • Colour
    • Black & White
  • Distribution
  • Festivals
    • Mostra de Sao Paulo, 2007
    • IDFA Amsterdam, 2007
    • Punto de Vista, Pamplona, 2008
    • Visions du Reél Nyon
    • Hot Docs, Toronto
    • European Media Art Festival
    • Documenta Madrid
    • EDOC
    • Huesca de Cine
    • Los Angeles Film Festival
    • FIDMarseille
    • Vancouver
    • UnderDox, Munich
    • Docslisboa
    • Odiessea Award for 1st Documentary
    • BFI’s London Film Fest
    • Viennale, Vienna
    • Jihlava IDFF
    • Mar de Plata, Buenos Aires
    • CPH:DOX, Copenhagen
    • Denver Film Festival
    • Filmer à tout prix, Brussels
    • Festival dei Popoli
    • Stuttgarter Filmwinter
    • DocPoint Helsinki
    • DocsBarcelona
    • Stranger Than Fiction
    • Punta de Vista - Again! ’09
    • ZagrebDox
    • Transilvania IFF
    • Shanghai TV Festival
  • Awards
    • International Grand Prix at FID Marseille
    • Golden Magnolia at Shanghai TV fest
    • Best 1st Doc at DocLisboa
    • Gala opening film at FATP Brussels
    • Audience Award in Florence
    • Special Mention in Pamplona
    • Special Mention in Florence
    • shortlisted for Independent Spirit Award “Truer Than Fiction”
    • runner up for FIPRESCI critics prize Viennale is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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