(in production)

ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM explores the notion of chance, friendship, legacy, love and learning to live life to the fullest in the face of a terminal illness.

In the winter of 2009-10, Lucia Small lost two of her closest friends to sudden, violent deaths; Susan Woolf, an artist, was murdered by an estranged boyfriend; Six weeks later, Karen Schmeer, an editor and Lucia’s roommate, was killed by a hit-and-run accident. There had been no warnings, no time to say good-bye.

Then, a year later, in 2011, Lucia and her filmmaking partner Ed Pincus were discussing project ideas when he was diagnosed with a terminal illness (MDS, a leukemia-like disease). Ed had been encouraging Lucia to pick up her camera as a way to deal with her own grief and now Ed, eager to make a film again, most likely his last, agreed that this might be their topic.

Ed’s exploration of treatments and his push to get his life and films in order, coupled with these major life events, act as a framework for the film. What the story is really about is relationships and their complexity. Ed finds the work grounding and needs Lucia’s help to realize his creativity; Ed’s wife Jane wishes to be left alone during this time; and Lucia reluctantly agrees to make the film because she’s been so deeply impacted by sudden deaths already. There are disturbing and squeamish aspects inherent in the film but it is challenging and delicate territory that these filmmakers are keen to explore.

Narrative filmmakers tackle subjects of friendship, love and loss — the internal, intangible story of the human condition. The documentarian traditionally engages in historical and social issue story-telling — the external and tangible side of the story. An unspoken rule is that non-fiction is about capturing “objective truth.” Autobiographical filmmaking tries to penetrate this divide. Ed Pincus, as a pioneer of this form, and Lucia Small are experienced personal documentarians, ready to challenge the form with this delicate, complex, intimate story.

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