Morgan Dews is the award winning director of Must Read After My Death and the new film Friends of Paco. He is currently developing Up Bear Creek, a series about growing up in wild in the Santa Cruz mountains in the seventies.
Morgan and his friends video taped their bohemian existence in Barcelona for years. Out of this footage he creates a feverish trip to the land of eternal youth, a tone poem on friendship and love, and, at the same time, on the workings of death. In it’s images, Merton and his friends are smiling, happy and carefree. But behind this visible aspect of life there is something else that we cannot see, but just feel. It’s a sort of subtle, invisible wave of sadness, like a requiem for something gone. Tempus fugit, amor manet – Time takes all away, except love.
Part love letter to a grittier Barcelona of the nineties and aughts, part road movie, Friends of Paco is an autobiography of modern bohemian expatriate. It’s the story of a bunch of misfit foreigners washed up like flotsam on the shores of Barcelona who forge a family of otherness in their youth and then, as time goes by, discover it isn’t enough. So, like any good family, they try and marry off the children, with mixed results.
a narrative series about growing up wild in the Santa Cruz mountains in the seventies.
a film about Allis. watch below
made Roger Ebert’s top 10 documentaries of 2009 – “I’ve never seen anything like it.” – Roger Ebert
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.
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 at Viennale
theatrical release 2009
New York City Quad Cinema, Feb. 19-26
Los Angeles Laemmle’s Sunset 5 Feb. 27- Mar. 5
IDFA 3 Amsterdam M
1st Special Mention, Jury
Visions du Reél 1 Nyon
Hot Docs 2 Toronto M
International Competition 2008
Vancouver 2 hd Morgan Q&A
Docupolis 1 Barcelona
UnderDox 1 Munich
Montreal New Cinema 2 hd M
Hamptons 2 Morgan Q&A
for 1st Documentary
Chicago 2 hd Morgan Q&A
Viennale 1 – Vienna
runner up for FIPRESCI prize
Mar de Plata 2 Buenos Aires
CPH:DOX 3 copenhagen
Filmer à tout prix 2 Brussels M
Jury Special Mention
DocsBarcelona 2 Morgan Q&A
UCLA screening 2/26
Stranger Than Fiction 2/3/09 Morgan Q&A
Punta de Vista – Again! ’09
ZagrebDox 2/23 – 3/1
USA Film Festival Morgan Q&A
Mar de Plata Travelling Exposition
Transilvania IFF 5/29 – 7/6
Shanghai TV Festival 6/8 – 6/12 Morgan Q&A
Golden Magnolia Prize
Era New Horizons (Wroclaw) – 7/23 – 8/ Morgan Q&A
Sichuan TV Festival (Chengdu)11/6-11/8M
Full Frame programmed by Ross McElwee
Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival