CUFF

THE WILL OF DEAN SNIDER JAIME KIBBEN

DOCUMENTARY 60:00 VIDEO 1999 CHICAGO PREMIERE

“If I could be well again I would… There’s a difference between arrogance and sort of necessity. I feel that I’m the one who should be in total control of my life while I’m living it and that death is too great of a decision and process to let anyone else handle, even God.” — Dean Snider

“During the summer of 1994, Dean Snider, experimental filmmaker, poet, and graphic artist, began making preparations for his death. For 10 years he had struggled with Parkinson’s Disease, an incurable illness that slowly destroys one’s ability to control movement, balance, and ultimately, thought. Two filmmakers, one behind the camera and one in front, spent ten weeks depicting a life becoming increasingly untenable.

After completing THE WILL OF DEAN SNIDER, director Jaime Kibben found its release blocked by his subject’s friends. They accused Kibben of capitalizing on Snider’s struggle with Parkinson’s disease and subsequent suicide to make an overly sensational film. Over several months, we see Snider abandoning the joys of former years made impossible by the reduced capacity of his body. However, the reduction of mental capacity scares him the most: “I suffer a lot every day, and I can handle that because I’ve done that for 10 years, but if I don’t have any control over my mind anymore, then that’s enough for me.” Watching Snider wrestle with his own limbs over an average day (even finding time to complete unfinished works of art) without a complaint is inspiring, but the reality of his illness robs Snider of all hope, leaving him to focus on the one thing he can control: his death. To see a man so logically defying the self-preservation instinct, from choosing the right bullet to (unnecessarily?) practicing at a shooting range, is startling. The question remains, when is it time to take the camera off your shoulder and lend it to your subject to cry on? Certainly the source of the controversy, the final Blair Witch-style shot, is sensational, but also undeniably riveting. Like Snider himself.”
– James Renovitch, AUSTIN CHRONICLE

“THE WILL OF DEAN SNIDER is an intriguing case study that explores the thin line separating objectivity from subjectivity in documentary filmmaking.” – Filmmaker Magazine

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