Peter Richardson doesn’t shy away from contentious subjects; he runs straight towards them. For his first feature documentary, Clear Cut: The Story of Philomath, Oregon, Richardson focused on the culture wars surrounding a high school scholarship that had divided his home town. (You can hear our conversation with him about Clear Cut here.)
His new film, How To Die In Oregon, looks at the state’s first-in-the-nation Death With Dignity law:
How To Die In Oregon is an unflinching and intimate portrait of people dealing with their own impending deaths. It starts with a man ending his life, and ends in a similar way. But along the way we’re brought into the doctor’s offices, bedrooms, and lives of people who both celebrate and lament Oregon’s law, and who approach the issue with honestly and nuance.
How To Die In Oregon is having its Oregon premiere at the Portland International Film Festival. And it just won the best documentary award at Sundance. (Here’s a video of Richardson’s acceptance speech.)
We’ll talk to Richardson about why he made How To Die, what he hopes to accomplish with it, and what the process was like for him. What questions do you have for Richardson — about his new film, or about Clear Cut, or about his future plans?