CLU to screen end-of-life documentary

Panel discussion on issues to follow at Muvico

The documentary is an intimate story about the American struggle with communication and preparation for life’s end.

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Jan. 16, 2013) California Lutheran University will show a documentary that explores end-of-life issues at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, at Muvico Thousand Oaks 14.

“Consider the Conversation: A Documentary on a Taboo Subject” will be screened as part of CLU’s Center for Equality and Justice Reel Justice Film series. A panel discussion will follow.

The documentary is an intimate story about the American struggle with communication and preparation for life’s end and includes the perspectives of patients, family members, doctors, nurses, social workers, clergy and national experts from around the country.

After the screening, professionals will address different aspects of death and field audience questions. Panelists are Jamie Banker, director of counseling psychology at CLU; Amyra Braha, certified grief counselor and Fellow in Thanatology, a certification for specialists in death, dying and bereavement; Dr. John Horton, general practitioner; and Karen Pavic Zabinski, regional director of ethics for the Providence Health Care system. Ann Sobel, executive director of Our Community House of Hope, will offer greetings and Colleen Windham-Hughes, assistant professor of religion at CLU, will moderate the discussion.

This film is the first in what will be a two-part series created by Burning Hay Wagon Productions, a company founded in 2009 by long-time Wisconsin friends Terry Kaldhusdal and Michael Bernhagen. Kaldhusdal, a fourth-grade teacher and filmmaker, and Bernhagen, a healthcare business development professional turned hospice advocate, have both lost loved ones to severe chronic disease in the past 10 years and struggled to make sense of what was happening. Their personal experiences combined with Bernhagen’s work in the hospice field led them to produce a pair of documentaries with the goal of inspiring a culture change that results in end-of-life care that is more person-centered and less system-centered.

Funded by private donations, “Consider the Conversation” premiered in front of a sold-out audience of 755 two years ago. It was released on DVD through in March and donated to PBS stations via the National Educational Telecommunications Association. It won 10 major awards including one for journalistic excellence and four for use of film for social change and viewer impact. It inspired the Wisconsin Medical Society to launch the statewide, collaborative advance-care-planning initiative Honoring Choices Wisconsin.

Muvico Thousand Oaks 14 is located at 166 W. Hillcrest Drive.

CLU’s Center for Equality and Justice and Graduate Psychology programs and Our Community House of Hope are sponsoring the free event. For more information, contact the center at or 805-493-3694.