Dick Johnson Is Dead


We cannot hold on to the people we love forever. An essential part of loving someone is acknowledging this crushing reality. As a means of preparing herself and her aging father, Dick, for letting go, filmmaker Kirsten Johnson invents various ways that he might die, staging and filming the scenarios in intricate, painstaking re-creations. Intimate conversations between parent and child infuse their affecting, funny, and wildly imaginative journey as they produce a series of untimely potential departures using elaborate sets, stuntpeople, and various visual effects. The film also records milestones in their actual lives: over the course of the film, Dick retires and eventually moves to be closer to his family. Throughout, Kirsten’s voice-overs reflect on what filming these episodes means to her, as well as how the loss of her mother and her own role as the parent of two small children shape her outlook. In its honest and tender confrontation of death, Dick Johnson Is Dead is ultimately a celebration of life and its immense capacity for meaningful connection.  ST


Kirsten Johnson


Katy Chevigny, Marilyn Ness


Nels Bangerter


Kirsten Johnson

Release Year


Festival Year



United States

Run Time

89 minutes