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Funding goes to production, post production, and festival submissions/marketing.

  • 25% of funding beyond the goal will go towards Our House – a grief support center in Los Angeles where my wife received mountains of support and help.
  • 75% of funding beyond the goal will go to the development of a follow up feature film that parallels theme and tone. For more information about that feature, click the contact link at the top of the page and inquire…

“Soil” is a comedic short film about a despondent young woman named Kara, who, after carefully mixing her recently deceased father’s ashes into a pot of soil, attempts to grow a tree from seed.

She believes that if the tree uses the nutrients from her father’s ashes to grow, it will in a some way bring his essence back to life. Not the craziest thought for someone in mourning. But still…

Unfortunately for her, the thin landing outside of her apartment isn’t proving beneficial for gardening, something her father knew so much about.

She desperately attempts and consistently fails to have the seed germinate. During her trials, she befriends a woman at a nursery who guides her towards the fundamentals of gardening and in doing so, teaches her to love the process. Unbeknownst to Kara, she’s also getting out of the house more, cleaning, and smiling – things that are helping her turn a corner.

But will the dad plant ever grow? Will she ever really be able to move on? 

“After my father-in-law died two years ago, I experienced loss in my immediate family for the first time in my life.

It’s a devastating feeling and watching my wife grieve was impossible. Being there for her and offering my ear is all I can offer. Fortunately, my wife is a talker – she can’t experience anything without analyzing or downloading all corners of it. So as we grieved together and she went to support groups, I listened to stories from her and from others about what it takes to balance out, not just get over the death, but move forward from day to day. It’s a hurdle that seems unimaginable, yet I eventually learned that it is possible. For my wife, part of it was about recalibrating by taking a step back from work, then slowing down the pace of her life, and spending more time with the things she loves like friends, reading, and for some reason, doing laundry. So I was inspired to write something about the battle of moving forward after this type of loss but couldn’t find the appropriate forum for a story.

I’m also a big fan of gardening. A novice, but I love it, constantly putting seeds in the ground and watching/eating what grows (as do my young kids). In nurturing plants to life, one is constantly watching plants die or not even germinate, something I found to be a powerful metaphor.

Then somehow I discovered Capsuli Mundi, a strange yet beautiful product where (hang in there with me on this) a deceased body is put inside of this egg shaped pod/coffin which is then buried with a small tree planted on top. The idea is that as the tree grows, the roots utilize the nutrients from the body. Beautiful if not a little morbid. This product never saw the light of day. They had a crowd fundraising campaign that went viral but was ultimately unsuccessful. I thought this concept was kind of beautiful and it launched the idea for this short about a woman who wants to do this but lives in an apartment with no yard space for a tree and her parent is in an urn.

This short is something that blends all of these important themes and interests in a touching yet comedic way that matters to me.”

– Sam Lembeck


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