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Green Burial Film Wins Accolades and “Hits Cultural Nerve” screening This Month at Smithsonian

June 9, 2013

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Green Burial Film Wins Accolades and “Hits Cultural Nerve” screening This Month at Smithsonian

Washington, DC – “A Will for the Woods,” the first feature length film about those working to de-industrialize the deathcare industry and use burial as a means of protecting natural areas, may finally push this emerging movement into mainstream consciousness.

The documentary premiered last month at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina winning the festival’s coveted “Audience Award,” as well being named “Best Environmental Film Award” from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

The film will screen at the Smithsonian in Washington DC on June 21st as part of AFI Silverdocs, the nation’s most prestigious documentary film festival.

“A moving and revelatory film addressing an issue each and every one of us must eventually confront,” said Bill Chameides, Dean of the Nicholas School.  “If you’re alive, this is a must see.”

TED put the film on its list of the “9 documentaries that you need to see this year.”  Discovery News said, “the success of the low-profile documentary suggests that the film has hit a cultural nerve.”

Nearly four years in the making, “A Will for the Woods” follows terminally ill psychiatrist Dr. Clark Wang as he endeavors to use his last act to find solace and protect woodland in Wake Forest, NC.  It also chronicles the pioneering efforts of the Green Burial Council, an independent, nonprofit that has become the standard-bearer in this nascent field by working to bring forward within the field of funeral service a “new ethic for a new era.”

Rather than focusing on what’s wrong with conventional deathcare, “A Will for the Woods” highlights those who have been working to change the way Americans are allowed to care for their dead.  Much of the film centers on the relationship between Dr. Wang and Dyanne Matzevich, manager of Pine Forest Cemetery in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

“Dyannne is the embodiment of everything the Green Burial Council aspires to be,” said Joe Sehee, founder of the eight year-old organization.  “And she so beautifully demonstrates in this film what can happen when the needs of others are placed above all else.”

Green or natural burial is a return to caring for the dead without embalming with toxic chemicals or the use of energy/resource intensive vaults, caskets, and maintenance practices.  When integrated with principles of restoration ecology and land stewardship, green burial can also be a vehicle for facilitating conservation.

To learn more about the film, go to, and for more information on the Green Burial Council, visit