My Newest Documentary: WHEN MY TIME COMES

As seen through my monitor, Diane Rehm conducting an interview for WHEN MY TIME COMES.

Production has recently begun on my newest film, a feature documentary entitled…
                                                      WHEN MY TIME COMES

The subject is medical aid in dying. As Diane Rehm — the Peabody-Award-winning journalist who hosted The Diane Rehm Show on NPR — says:

“If you want every medical technique available used to extend your life, I support you 100%. If your religious views tell you that only God can decide when and how you will die, I support you 100% also. And if, as I do, you want to have the option to end your life according to your own choosing, I support you 100% as well.”

Giving direction as we prepare to shoot Diane interviewing medical aid in dying advocate Alexa Fraser

The title of our film comes from a Washington Post op-ed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who formerly opposed medical aid in dying but has evolved into an advocate, writing that “dying people should have the right to choose how and when they leave Mother Earth.” Watch Archbishop Tutu talk about his point of view on the subject here.

Diane Rehm and journalist/filmmaker Diane Naughton (“DR” and “DN” as we refer to them to avoid confusion between the two Dianes) are my producing colleagues in this venture. In addition to her work in media and as a fundraiser for various worthy charitable causes, DN is a board member for the Virginia Film Festival, with which I’m affiliated. DR is… well, she’s Diane Rehm!

DR’s views on the subject are perhaps best known because of her best-selling book ON MY OWN. In WHEN MY TIME COMES, she invites viewers to join her as she continues her own education on medical aid in dying. DR shares the personal experience that led her to become an advocate —  and she guides us through the intimate stories of patients, family members, experts and others with valuable knowledge and insights to share.

Going over my notes with Diane in her office.

“But, Joe,” you may say, “isn’t this a controversial issue in this country?” To which I would say that yes, it is, for some. But you should know that a June 2017 Gallop poll showed that 73% of adults in the U.S. agree that “when a person has a disease that cannot be cured… doctors should be allowed by law to end the patient’s life by some painless means if the patient and his or her family request it.” Is it a simple question? Absolutely not, and that’s one of the reasons we’re making the film. (For more information about medical aid in dying, go here.)

As I write this, there are movements in 26 states hoping to join Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Colorado, Montana, California and the District of Columbia in granting medical aid in dying to their citizens. As this movement grows across the nation, the time is right for a film that helps people understand what it’s all really about.

I’ll be posting more about the film here as production continues, but, in the meantime I ask you to…


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