Oscar-Nominated Filmmaker-Author Frederick Marx Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Film on Life Honoring Celebrations

Oscar-Nominated Filmmaker-Author Frederick Marx Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Film on Life Honoring Celebrations
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Warrior Films, a California-based production house founded by Oscar- and Emmy-nominated filmmaker and author Frederick Marx, has launched a crowdfunding campaign for its documentary, It’s YOUR Wonderful Life! The film is about Life Honoring Celebrations, a practice that seeks to turn funerals on their head by gathering the community to honor a person while they are still alive.

The campaign for It’s YOUR Wonderful Life! is hosted on crowdfunding platform Seed and Spark. The target is to raise $25,000 for initial costs of production, which includes research, filming sample stories, and building awareness, allowing Warrior Films to create and sustain support for the remainder of the film’s production run, which is expected to last two to three years.

The campaign has multiple donor levels, ranging from $10 to $10,000. Donors at the lower levels will receive complimentary copies of Marx’s books and previous films, while higher-end donors can see rough cuts of the movie, as well as interact personally with Marx, who will conduct screenings of his films and/or give talks about his work.  Donors can even write their own reward incentives.

Marx and Warrior Films seek to foster a culture of open dialogue, acceptance, and appreciation for every precious moment in people’s lives. With the public’s support, the film will become reality, sparking conversations in families, schools, workplaces, churches, and community groups about the realities of death and the best practices of wholesome dying. 

According to Marx, a Life Honoring Celebration, also known as a living funeral, can be held for people of any age, not just the elderly, once someone receives a terminal illness diagnosis. Marx says, “Death doesn’t arrive with a ‘Save the Date’ notice.”  So he especially seeks to film stories of those under 40, even children, who may be dying.  “Everyone who loves them and cares about them can gather to hold a public or private celebration of their life, telling them to their face the positive differences they made for them, how they became a better person by virtue of the dying person’s spirit, actions, or presence.” Events like these were commonly practiced in indigenous cultures around the world but are often considered taboo in Western culture because of the general culture of denial around death and dying.

It’s YOUR Wonderful Life! Is also a personal story for Marx, as it shows the Life Honoring Celebration for his wife, Tracy Seeley, who died in July 2016 due to breast cancer, just a few days following her honoring celebration. The step by step process for that ceremony was documented in the first book he authored, At Death Do Us Part, which was published in 2018.  The book also includes reflections on their 13 year marriage, the process of her dying, and Marx’s own process of grieving afterward. 

Marx says he was first exposed to a Life Honoring Celebration when a man in his men’s support circle – his sound engineer friend Marty Feldman – was dying. “‘You guys are going to be the ones to bury me,” Marty said to them back in 1996 when he was first diagnosed with terminal cancer.  So in 2004 as the end neared, the men in the circle organized a Life Honoring Celebration, and Marx, working overseas at the time, flew back to Chicago to attend. The 150 people present took turns sharing their memories, expressing their gratitude, and making it known how Marty made a positive difference in their life.

“That celebration was so powerful; it profoundly affected me,” Marx says. “So I took it on as a side mission to promote Life Honoring Celebrations alongside my other film and writing projects. It took a long time to convince Tracy to let us hold a celebration for her.  As a classic introvert, very private, she saw it as an exercise in ego. But I convinced her it was a way for her to experience some of the impacts she had on others that she may never have imagined. It was also an opportunity for others to openly express their love and gratitude to her and say goodbye. She never regretted that decision, and I’m so grateful for that. She left this life knowing she was well loved, absorbing some of the invaluable contributions she had made to the lives of others. It’s YOUR Wonderful Life! is a way for me to make my advocacy more formal, spreading awareness about how these celebrations can benefit not only the person who’s dying, but also help restore the torn fabric of community, bringing people together to authentically share their hearts’ truth.”


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