The Suicide Tourist

Wednesday, April 16 – 7:30pm
Canada 2007. Director: John Zaritsky

 The Dignitas organization in Zurich, Switzerland, is the only place in the world where citizens from any country can come to receive assistance in committing suicide. Asserting that the choice to end one’s life is a basic human right, Dignitas founder Ludwig Minelli has indirectly assisted in the suicides of more than 500 people from more than 40 countries. The Suicide Tourist follows the stories of several people who have made the controversial decision to end their lives. One of them is 59-year-old American Craig Ewert, terminally ill with a rapidly progressing form of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). The film follows Craig through the last four days of his life as he prepares to leave his adopted home in England for the last time and then travels to Zurich with his wife. We also follow a Canadian couple in their early 70s.  The husband, who has had four heart attacks and is distressed by his declining quality of life, would like to pursue assisted suicide with Dignitas.  His wife of 50 years is determined to die with him, even though she is perfectly healthy. Well received at festivals around the world, including Hot Docs in Toronto and the International Documentary festival in Amsterdam, the film received a Special Mention at last fall’s VIFF from the Canadian Documentary jury, which praised it as “an unflinching, quietly compassionate hymn to life, full of moral complexity.” Colour, DigiBeta video. 89 mins.

Post-screening discussion with Dr. Romayne Gallagher and director John Zaritsky.

Dr. Gallagher is Physician Program Director for the Providence Health Care Palliative Care Program; Co-Physician Director for Elder Care, Providence Health Care; and Clinical Professor, UBC Division of Palliative Care.

John Zaritsky, the director of The Suicide Tourist, is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker whose works have won more than 30 honours, including a 1982 Academy Award for his documentary feature Just Another Missing Kid. Three of his films, Broken Promises, Born in Africa and Romeo and Juliet in Sarajevo, have been nominated for Emmy Awards. He has also won six Geminis, Canada’s national television award.

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, UBC.

Frames of Mind is a monthly film event utilizing film and video to promote professional and community education on issues pertaining to mental health and illness.

For more information, see the Pacific Cinémathèque Program Guide

$9.50 Adult Single Bill / $8.00 Senior/Student Single Bill / $11.50 Adult Double Bill / $10.00 Senior/Student Double Bill
Advance tickets available at
24hr Film Infoline: 604 688 FILM