Dismal Trade Interview: the Filmmakers Behind “A Will for the Woods”

Green burial, first person: A still from 'A Will for the Woods'
Green burial, first person: A still from ‘A Will for the Woods’

Amy Browne discovered green burial when she was in her early twenties and going through some medical challenges. She remembers driving by a conventional cemetery one day and just feeling a shiver go through her. “I don’t want to go there,” she thought. Then her sister told her about green burial. It changed things for her.

“[F]or a lot of people, there’s this odd..disassociation with going back to the soil. It’s only about worms, and things like that—but we wanted to show the beauty of it, the way that for a lot of people, when it comes down to it, it’s very calming to think your nutrients go back to the soil.”

Today, Amy’s the co-director of the moving and visually stunning documentary A Will for the Woods, which follows one family’s experience with green burial and home funerals. (View the trailer here.) Technically, green burial means no non-biodegradable products are placed into the earth, but there’s a larger mission of ecosystem preservation, too. (For more on that, you can visit with the Green Burial Council.)

In the first of several conversations on this site with people involved with death and funeral practices, here’s my phone interview with filmmakers Amy Browne, Jeremy Kaplan, Tony Hale and Brian Wilson. The sound quality isn’t great, but I think the content of the conversation merits my giving you a listen anyway.

Want more? Check out this Dismal Trade interview with Sheri Booker, who came of age working in a West Baltimore funeral home, starting when she was 15 year old.

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