“Transforming.” That’s how Kathy Sparnins, a former Portland resident and long-time grief educator and first-time filmmaker, describes the documentary film that has consumed her life for several years.
Sparnins is the Co-Producer of “Voices of Grief, Honoring the Sacred Journey.” The 42-minute documentary film will be making its Oregon premiere on Monday, July 24, 6:30 PM at Christ The King Lutheran Church, 11305 SW Bull Mountain Road, Tigard, OR 97224.
Seven years ago, Sparnins walked away from a women’s film festival inspired to do a film of her own, “I realized how powerful these films were to encourage social change.”
This is how the dream of doing her own film was born. Through her experience as a grief educator Sparnins became aware of how death and grief phobic our culture has become. “Over the years, I learned how often our culture struggles to support people in pain, and especially when they are grieving,” she says. “We want people to be okay but we give them messages to hurry this process and get over it. It’s not that we are bad people; we just don’t know what to do.”
“Voices of Grief, Honoring the Sacred Journey” weaves together interviews and insights from contemporary authors, poets and spiritual teachers along with the stories of people who talk about their own very personal experiences with grief.
Sparnins, now a resident of Woodland Park, Colorado, was sure of her message, and she also knew she wanted to present a powerful independent film that would stand on its own at film festivals while ultimately serving as a resource for hospices and grief groups. To accomplish this, she brought veteran filmmaker Deb Collins on board. Collins, also from Woodland Park, has more than 20 years of video production experience, and is the founder and owner of her own multimedia company, Starinsky Studios. Deb’s most prestigious clients include motivational speakers Mark Victor Hansen (“Chicken Soup for the Soul”) and Anthony Robbins.
“I’ve learned that if you are encouraged to feel what you feel, instead of all the things your culture wants you to shut down, then you are able to reconcile and integrate grief. We never get over grief, nor would we want to. We reconcile our grief and we integrate grief into our new life after the death. The families appearing in our film have courageously shared their stories and walked this transformative journey.” In the words of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, “You will be whole again but you will never be same.”
Targeting populations of greatest need, Sparnins is also reaching out to all the hospices across the nation to offer streaming access to the film at no cost for ongoing use by staff, volunteers and patient families in their hospice bereavement programs.
Christ The King Lutheran Church is inviting the community to participate in the film screening and discussion. They will also be launching a series of grief support groups to continue the conversations to support those in our community in their time of need.
To contact Kathy Sparnins, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (719)659-0447. Additional information about Voices of Grief can be found at www.voicesofgrief.org .