All families have secrets. Skeletons hidden in closets. Things left unsaid.
In Where There’s Smoke, writer/director/storytelling pioneer Lance Weiler unravels the secrets of his enigmatic father–a volunteer firefighter and amateur fire scene photographer–and two devastating fires that struck the Weiler family in the early 1980s. In the final months of his battle with colon cancer, his father invites Lance to interview him, and these conversations reignite 30 years of wondering… were those fires more than tragic accidents?
Prepared to come face-to-face with mysteries of the past, Lance sits down with his father and finds himself simultaneously confronting tragedies of the present. As his father’s choices fade with his body, Lance and his family experience a profound lack of empathy in his care, and this sparks a new question Lance: “What if this story can do more?” Out of a heartbreaking journey for answers and healing rises Where There’s Smoke, an unlikely collaboration between Lance and his father that combines elements of immersive theatre, interactive documentary and emergent technology. Now, using the online tools that have kept us connected through COVID-19, join Lance and his father in an immersive conversation about life, loss and memory that reveals itself to be both deeply personal and universally resonant.
“In 1983 our van burst into flames on a family vacation. Eleven months later our house would burn to the ground. As I explore my past I find mysterious connections to these blazes and come face to face with a closet full of skeletons. Inspired by true events in my life, Where There’s Smoke details the connections between two mysterious fires and my father’s battle with cancer.” – writer/director Lance Weiler
NEW VIRTUAL VERSION
We’re excited to announce that we’ve developed a new virtual version of Where There’s Smoke for upwards of a 40 participants. The 90 minute experience weaves together storytelling, artwork, unseen archival 35mm slides, new recordings and immersive moments designed for individuals, pairs and groups. If you’re interested in hosting a showing of Where There’s Smoke at your festival, museum, gallery, school and/or conference please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
FESTIVAL SHOWINGS & AWARDS
Tribeca Film Festival (1,400 sq ft installation)
IDFA Doc Lab – within the non-fiction competition section (virtual version)
Portland International Film Festival – March 2021
Currents New Media Festival – June 2021
Digital Dozen: Breakthroughs in Storytelling award
FoST prize in storytelling innovation
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
“Weiler proves that Zoom video conferencing software and the online notebook Miro can also be used as instruments for telling an emotional story, and even to create intimacy.” – IDFA Doc Lab
“Over 100 movies screened at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, but one of its best offerings lets you walk inside the frame and experience a story from the inside out.” – IndieWire
“The tech is sublimated here in service to Weiler’s very personal chronicling of his father’s life and the nature of their relationship. It’s a lovely piece and another must see.” – Filmmaker Magazine
“Deeply affecting and incredibly well-crafted, this powerful documentary-meets-installation interactive experience leaves a lasting mark.…” – No Proscenium
“Absolute can’t-miss…” – Backstage
“Tribeca Immersive 2019 Awesome List” – Forbes