Her Last Project made its emotional debut Friday, Sept. 13 at the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival in Halifax

It was an emotional day as friends, family and filmmakers gathered to witness the film that chronicles Dr. Shelly Sarwal’s courageous end of life journey through MAID and organ donation.

Prior to the sold-out FIN festival screening, a reception was held at the Halifax Central Library (originally intended to take place at the Public Gardens in Halifax but relocated due to the impact of Hurricane Dorian). There, those involved with the film, along with Shelly’s health-care team, representatives from Nova Scotia Health’s Legacy of Life program, Canadian Blood Services, and many friends and family, raised a toast to Shelly and to the documentary that so eloquently tells her story. 

Filmmaker Rosvita Dransfeld, Shelly’s husband Randy Tressider and Executive Producer Amber Appleby were on hand to reflect about the making of the film, Shelly’s legacy, and to answer questions.

That night at the debut screening, the film festival audience were moved to tears as Shelly’s charm and charisma left everyone feeling as though they’d made and lost a dear friend.   

“Making this film was a fascinating journey. Shelly’s a very charismatic woman and she was really on a mission to educate people about dying, about medical assistance in dying and about organ donation,” says Rosvita Dransfeld, Director. “It is sad that Shelly [died], and we all miss her a lot, but on the other hand it’s a beautiful way to leave this world.”

The filmmakers and producers would like to share their sincere gratitude to the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival for the opportunity to debut this film in Shelly’s hometown surrounded by friends and family and those who cared for, worked with and loved Shelly. It was an extraordinary experience and is just the beginning.

“Being a part of the development of this film, working with Shelly and her husband Randy and continuing to facilitate the dissemination of her powerful message has been the most meaningful thing I have ever done,” says Ken Lotherington.

Ken is the project lead at Canadian Blood Services responsible for connecting the professional community and public to this work that will ultimately improve end-of-life conversations and experiences for health-care workers, patients and their families.

Screenings will take place across the country over the next few months. Stay tuned to this site for dates, times and locations near you. If you’re interested in hosting a screening or learning more about professional education about MAID and organ donation, please contact us.

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