Must Read After My Death

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


festival screenings


Mostra de Sao Paulo 3  M

IDFA 3 Amsterdam M


Punto de Vista, Pamplona 2  M

1st Special Mention, Jury

Singapore 1

Visions du Reél 1 Nyon

Hot Docs 2 Toronto M

European Media Art Festival 2

Documenta Madrid 2


Huesca de Cine 1

Los Angeles Film Festival 3 M


GRAND PRIX International Competition 2008

Vancouver  2 hd Morgan Q&A

Docupolis 1  Barcelona

UnderDox 1 Munich

Ghent  3

Montreal New Cinema 2 hd M

Ourense  2

Cork  1

Lausanne Underground 2

Hamptons 2 Morgan Q&A

Docslisboa 3

Odiessea Award for 1st Documentary

Chicago  2 hd Morgan Q&A

BFI’s London Film Fest 3 hd

Viennale 1 – Vienna

runner up for FIPRESCI prize

Jihlava 1

Mar de Plata 2  Buenos Aires

CPH:DOX 3 copenhagen

Denver Film Festival  2

Filmer à tout prix  2 Brussels M

Opening Film

Festival dei Popoli  2 M

Audience Award and Jury Special Mention

Zinebi Bilbao

Stuttgarter Filmwinter 1

DocPoint Helsinki

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


Filmer L’invisible, Centre Pompidou, 11/20


Full Frame programmed by Ross McElwee

Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival


Must Read After My Death