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SXSW: An Elephant in the Room

Children should be seen AND heard. Especially when they have something important to say. Filmmaker Katrine Philp’s new documentary An Elephant in the Room explores the grief children experience from the loss of a parent. The film follows several New Jersey children who suffered the loss of their mom or dad, and in some cases both, and receive group therapy at The Good Grief. During therapy they’re able to connect with peers who understand what they’re going through and counselors help them process their emotions and this new stage in life with lengthy discussions, art projects and play. 

“One of the worst things after my father died was the silence of people not knowing what to say, avoiding me, maybe struck with fear of how to talk about death and grief. I hope this film will make us all braver when we encounter people who have lost and I think the children in the film can help us with that.”

Katrine Philp

An Elephant in the Room is a sensitive and enlightening look at what it means for a child to grieve the loss of a parent. The film is effective in its simplicity. There are no talking heads and no narration. The focus here is on the children. It strips away anything that would get in the way of allowing the children to have their say. We hear from Kimmy, Nicky, Peter, Nora, Nolan and Mikayla as they speak with their surviving parents, siblings, counselors and other kids about what they’re going through. Yes this film is heartbreaking and for some it will be difficult to watch. However, grief is so isolating and it’s so important that we connect with others. This film helps us connect virtually with these children as they grapple with their new realities.

An Elephant in the Room was set to premiere at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival. It recently won first place in the Documentary Feature Competition. For more information about this film, visit the Good Company Pictures’ website.

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