Filmmaker: Vanessa Gould

Runtime: 93 min

It’s a shame no one wants to talk to them at parties because obituary writers are a surprisingly funny bunch. Ten hours before newspapers hit neighborhood doorsteps—and these days, ten minutes before the news hits the web—an obit writer is racing against the deadline, to sum up, a long and newsworthy life in under 1000 words. The details of these lives are then deposited into the cultural memory amid the daily beat of war, politics, and football scores.

Obit. is the first documentary to explore the world of these writers and their subjects, focusing on the legendary team at The New York Times, who approach their daily work with journalistic rigor and narrative flair. Going beyond the byline and into the minds of those chronicling life after death on the freshly inked front lines of history, the film invites some of the most essential questions we ask ourselves about life, memory, and the inevitable passage of time. What never dies?

About The Filmmaker

VANESSA GOULD is a filmmaker, editor and camera operator working in Brooklyn. Gould recently completed OBIT, a feature-length documentary about The New York Times obituaries and their writer-reporters. OBIT world-premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and is in the national release by Kino Lorber. OBIT has received critical acclaim and has played theatrically on more than 100 screens across the US. OBIT was named “one of the ten best films of 2017” by Entertainment Weekly and Esquire, as well as Critics’ Pick by The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.

Gould’s previous film Between the Folds premiered on PBS’s Independent Lens in December 2009 and was re-broadcast the following season. In 2010, it received a Peabody Award. Between the Folds has been translated into more than ten languages and broadcast in dozens of countries on NHK, CBC, ABC, EBS, NRK, SF, SVT, Al Jazeera, Al Hurra, and other networks.

In 2012–2013, she produced and shot for Showtime’s Emmy®-winning Years of Living Dangerously, a documentary series about climate change executive produced by James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. She was a featured presenter at the EG 2010 conference in Monterey, California, and serves on the jury for the News & Documentary Emmy® Awards, as well as on several festival juries.  She studied piano at the New England Conservatory, and art history, architecture, and physics at Columbia University. She paints occasionally and is an avid listener of traditional music from around the world.