1999 – Editor

2018, 90 min

Written & Directed by Samara Grace Chadwick Edited by Terra Jean Long Cinematography Pablo Alvarez-Mesa & Samara Grace Chadwick Produced by Parabola Films, The National Film Board of Canada & Beauvoir Films

When death haunts a high school in a small town in the late 1990s, everyone is forever transformed. In this gentle, prismatic film, Samara returns to the town she fled as a teen to re-immerse herself in the memories still lurking there, in its spaces and within the dusty boxes of diaries, photos and VHS tapes. 1999 is not a ghost story, but the ghosts are palpable at every turn. The snow-covered streets, the school’s hallways and lockers are preserved as in a dream.

The absences left by the relentless teenage suicides still shimmer with questions, trauma and regret. Samara encounters people who are as breathtaking as they are heartbroken, and, finally, 16 years later, the community strengthens itself by sharing the long-silenced memories.

Ultimately the film weaves together multiple voices in a collective essay on how grief is internalized—and how, as children, we so painfully learn to articulate our desire to stay alive.

Festivals & Screenings

  • Visions du reel (Switzerland)
  • Hot Docs International Documentary Festival (Canada)
  • DokuFest (Kosovo)
  • BAFICI (Argentina)
  • Museum of the Moving Image (USA)
  • New Orleans French Film Festival (USA)
  • Biografilm Festival (Italy)
  • DCTV | Fall Film Series (USA)
  • Berlin Documentary Film Club (Germany)
  • FICFA | Festival international du cinema francophone en Acadie (Canada)


“1999 is one of the most haunting documentaries I’ve ever seen... a philosophical meditation on memory, sorrow, uncertainty, adolescence, and rebellion.” 

- Astra Taylor, Filmmaker Magazine

“A profoundly personal but strikingly universal diaristic look back at a particular place and time. Surprising, tender, and charming.”

- Pamela Cohn, Filmmaker Magazine

“A powerful meditation on trauma and resilience. Unlike anything I’ve seen this year.”

- NOW Magazine