Live and Let Go
An American Death
By Jay Niver & Jay Spain
When 76-year-old Sam Niver learned that his prostate cancer was terminal, the last thing he wanted was to die in the hospital, as his wife had recently done. Fiercely independent, he wanted to die as he had lived his life on his own terms. In constant pain, and tired of a seemingly endless round of drug and radiation treatments, Sam did his research, made his own plans, approved his obituary, and asked his son Jay to document his final days. The resulting film is a moving tribute to a life lived well and ended with dignity.
Sam Niver was a proud World War II veteran; a hometown newspaperman and civic leader; a loving husband, father, and friend. Having decided to take his own life, he was careful to explain the decision not only to his family but also to the world, through the press and through this film. Jay and his sister, Gretchen, supported Sam's decision, and, when he told them he would have a friend sit with him at the end, they insisted on being the ones to share his final moments. Another son chose not to participate.
Issues related to assisted suicide, or the more general questions surrounding an individual's right to choose a death with dignity, are being hotly debated today in our legislatures, by our civic and religious organizations and at the family dinner table. Live and Let Go offers a powerful and provocative context for such discussions. Discussion leaders should be aware that the scene in which Sam takes his life, using sedative drugs in a method advocated by the Hemlock Society, is quite peaceful but may be difficult for some viewers to watch.
Purchase $229 DVD
Order No. QA-381
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-986-X
"Heartfelt (though never maudlin), thoughtful, and honest...Sure to be an excellent discussion starter about end-of-life issues and euthanasia. Highly recommended." Video Librarian
"Powerful. An eloquent approach to a hot-button subject, it deserves to be seen and discussed." Winston-Salem Journal
"We owe it to those in similar situations to witness this powerful, unflinching and above all heartfelt cinematic testimony. Bring a handkerchief and an open mind." L.A. Weekly
"Riveting, unsettling, and portrayed with unflinching honesty." Twin Cities Star Tribune
"Presents a nice case study sure to lead to discussion about the many issues surrounding assisted suicide." Educational Media Reviews
"Personalizes the politics and slogans of end-of-life issues in a compelling family narrative appropriate for mature audiences. " The Gerontologist
Awards & Conference Screenings
World Premiere, DancesWithFilms, Los Angeles
Best Documentary, Asheville Film Festival
Gold Award and "Best of Show" nominee
Health and Science Communications Assn.
American Society on Aging
Northampton Independent Film Festival
Tiburon International Film Festival
RiverRun International Film Festival
Greenwich Film Festival
World Conference on Assisted Dying
New York Hemlock Society
Bronze Award, Mature Media Awards
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