One World Film Festival

Carol Salter – Almost Heaven #jedensvet2018

Play Podcast
9 min. and 58 sec.

A young Chinese girl learns about friendship, love, and caring for the dead as she learns to become a mortician.

Play Podcast
9 min. and 58 sec.

PODCAST| Matt Micucci interviews Carol Salter, director of the film Almost Heaven

To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture

Director Carol Salter presented her film, Almost Heaven, at the 20th One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Prague, Czech Republic. The documentary tells the story of a young Chinese girl who learns about friendship, love and caring for the dead as she learns to become a mortician. “It was fear and intrigue that took me to China,” Salter tells us. In this interview, she talks about meeting her young protagonist and how she was able to establish a level of trust with her and the funeral parlor despite the fact that she did not speak in Chinese. “Access in documentary is always a challenge … and death is always a taboo subject, especially in China.” She also talks about shooting the film on her own, and the benefit of “self-shooting” to make Almost Heaven. Salter also reveals the personal reasons for making the documentary, such as dealing with loss and her own mortality.

Almost Heaven: A deeply personal documentary set against the unusual backdrop of a Chinese funeral home that follows the story of Ying, a teenager for whom this place represents a first job, friendship, and also boredom. Ying Ling is only 17 years old and works in one of China’s largest funeral homes, where she and her peers learn the precise work of washing the dead and arranging the funeral ceremony. Early years of life intermingle with the end of life and the painful emotions of relatives. Ying, however, remains a teenage girl with all the joys and sorrows this brings. She takes time to play video games, experiences her first love, but also a painful separation from her parents and a fear of ghosts. Can these different worlds merge into one?

  • Reporter
    Matt Micucci
  • Guest
    Carol Salter
  • Interviewee role
  • Film title
    Almost Heaven
  • Festival section
    Beyond the Horizon
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