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Based on the critically acclaimed short film, “Grief Becomes Me,” filmmaker Christine Fugate combines poetic visuals with present day life in “Grief Becomes Me: A Love Story,” a painful and tender portrait of grief transforming into hope.

Poet Donna Hilbert’s life changed in an instant with her husband Larry’s sudden death. In the months following she addressed her grief in poetry, completing the acclaimed Transforming Matter. ‘This wondrous collection examines faith, grief, the afterlife . . .’ (Denise Duhamel) Six years later her life again changed dramatically when director Christine Fugate discovered her work and began translating it to film. Grief Becomes Me, a short film consisting of three poems, debuted at the LA Short Film Festival and the Long Beach Museum of Art. The short was the first in a trilogy of poems dealing with life, death and the afterlife. After the success of the short, Fugate decided to produce and direct a longer film Grief Becomes Me: A Love Story
, an interweaving of documentary footage and narrative interpretations of Hilbert’s poetry.

Donna Hilbert’s widely respected work hit the poetry world in 1990, with the release of her first collection, Mansions. With language ‘astonishingly pure and crystalline,’ her poems examine the complexity of human emotion and relationships (Jonathan Ward). Grief Becomes Me: A Love Story explores grief through an interweaving of poetic visuals portraying Donna’s inner life and her present day reality. Striking cinematography by Sandra Chandler (Eyes of Tammy Faye, Living Dolls) creates a bridge between these two worlds as we watch Donna struggle to reconcile the death of her husband, occurring as it did, just as they had emerged from a crisis in their marriage to rebuild a life together. The film celebrates the return to life after grief, the solace of family and friends and the sweet discovery of new romantic love.

A team of award-winning female filmmakers including Kate Amend (Thin, Into the Arms of Strangers) Christine Fugate (Tobacco Blues, The Girl Next Door); and Midge Costin (Cine Manifest, Armageddon) worked for over four years on the project. First realized as series of short films, the vignettes were so well received by the art world that the filmmakers decided to expand the project into a twenty-minute film. The result is Grief Becomes Me: A Love Story one of the first documentaries to explore the issues of grief and loss in a cinematic style similar to The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. In its depiction of death and renewal, Grief Becomes Me: A Love Story is a painful, touching but ultimately inspiring portrait of what happens when one’s life changes in an instant.