Ty Lorenzi was a NASA engineer, a poet, a mentor, a world traveler, a ski bum, a marathon runner, a sailor, a backpacker, and the most unique person we have ever met. Tyler was known to make good friends with a stranger on an airplane or to bring a homeless man home for dinner. He had an effect on peoplean organic, genuine way of living positively that excited anyone he interacted with. Wherever he went, he always said it was "a great place to meet someone."
Then at the age of 23, just one year out of Northwestern University, he died of hypothermia when his sailboat capsized in the James River. He did not think twice about spending his energy diving into the frigid water trying to obtain lifejackets for his friends. After treading water for 6 hours with his friend Cornelia, the two were rescued. Tragically, Ty died the next day in the hospital. The rest of the group made it to shore, except for Ty's Co-captain, Alex Brown, who was found a week later.
After Ty's death, we discovered an old email containing a list of his favorite places and activities in the Bay Area where he grew up. This list has become the inspiration for a trip that will attempt to uncover what made life meaningful to Ty.
To see how Ty inspirited other people, check out our friends at www.communityler.com.
"It's a great place to meet someone"
"Life is Good"
"What did you do today that was FUN?"
"I think I figured out the key to being a happy and positive person. The ability to smile, both with your face and your soul, and be internally conscious of it. Then the ability to smile at the fact that your smiling, ad infinitum."
"Let Your Mind Run Wild"
By Jesse Swedlund
News of Ty's death shocked his friends on campus. As a recent graduate of Northwestern University, Ty was someone we'd expected to have around for a long time. Members of the two organizations on campus in which he was heavily involved, the Club Sailing Team and Project Wildcat, a pre-orientation backpacking trip for freshman, were particularly devastated by the news. When I heard about Ty's death, I couldn't process the fact that someone who had seemed so invincible to the forces of this world had been taken so young.
Ty was someone whom we all looked up to, someone who made everyone around him comfortable with his smile, someone who was wise beyond his years, and the tragedy of his young departure has had a deep effect on many of us. However, at the memorial service, listening to his best friends talk about him, there was an unusual sentiment that Ty hadn't died young. There were no "what-ifs," no talk of his potential future, no indication that Tyler missed out on the rest of his life; Tyler was an old soul who had lived a full life during his time here. This film will be an experiential investigation into how Ty was able to live in this manner and how we can unpack and interpret his philosophy in the context of his death.
There is a huge opportunity here for emotional and spiritual growth not only for Ty's friends, but for the audience as well. On a deeper level, this is a story about the way Tyler Lorenzi lived – uninhibited, excited, loving – and our mission to honor his message and gain insight on our own life philosophy. Tyler's lifestyle, taken skeptically, could be interpreted as a warning for those of us who live on the edge. However, for me it has become a call to action, an impassioned scream from the soul to live, to say yes, and to take the time we have and run as fast and as far as we can go. My hope in making this documentary is to spread this message to others.
The stories of Ty's compassion, spontaneity, and positivity have forced me and everyone who knew Ty to take a step back and examine our own lives. How can we become better people? How can we make our lives fulfilling? How can we empower ourselves to live each day as if our biggest fear is to stop smiling? Ty seemed to have a special perspective on these questions. Our goal will be attempting to unlock that perspective as we try to discover meaning in our journey.
Learn more about the group heading to San Francisco
Doug is 23 years old and lives in San Francisco, California. He is a high school drama teacher, high school spiritual retreat planner, and entrepreneur. He and Ty both went to Northwestern and were backpacking counselors together. Each summer before school would start, they would take incoming freshman on week-long hiking trips.
"I am going on this trip for a two main reasons: one, I trust Ben and Jesse and believe in the work they are doing. I believe that the message they are trying to spread throughout the world - the message of Tyler's life - is powerful and palpable. Number two, I'm doing the trip because I want to get to know Tyler better. I want to find ways in which I can live like he did and emulate his greatest qualities. I don't really know what to expect but I'm excited to meet these wonderful people, spend time doing fun things, and just play!"
Steve is 51, and lives on the Chesapeake Bay in Mathews Co, Virginia. He's a paramedic who transports critical patients between hospitals. When Ty went to work for NASA he rented a room in Steve's condo. What started as a roommate relationship quickly turned into an amazing friendship.
"I'm going to San Francisco to honor my dear friend Tyler and be with his friends and family. I hope in some small part I can share some of Ty's stories from the last days he was with us in this life before he went on his adventure to the next."
Becky is 24 years old and lives in Los Altos, CA. She works for Google in the Online Sales Department. Becky met Ty at science camp in 2003, and soon after they became best friends. She took him as a date to her prom, and their friendship stayed strong through college, as they frequently exchanged handwritten letters.
"I'm going on this trip to have an adventure how Tyler would have had it, and to hopefully help others learn about Tyler and his passion for life and enjoying every single moment of it."
Learn more about the people who made the film
Emily GiudiceFundraising Team
Grace BuckinghamFundraising Team
Hannie LeeCreative Team
Josh BrechnerMusical Director
Josh JacobsonMusical Contributor
Chris ZamierowskiWeb Developer
Justin CohlerWeb Developer
Jesse is a film student at Northwestern University and is originally from Beloit, Wisconsin. At Northwestern, he has worked on many student film productions as a grip, gaffer, editor, director, and most recently, director of photography for a feature length film in spring 2011.
Fun Fact: Jesse was the Emcee of Northwestern University's 2011 Dance Marathon. He led over 800 dancers for 30 straight hours to raise over 1 million dollars for charity.
Ben is a communications student at Northwestern University, graduating in March 2012. He originally hails from Glen Rock, New Jersey. He was chosen for the highly competitive internship at Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles, where he worked in the Entertainment Marketing division during summer 2011.
Fun Fact: Ben has had a lizard named Stanley since 5th grade.
Olivia is junior at Northwestern University majoring in Learning and Organizational Change and minoring in Environmental Policy and Culture. Olivia is also a Brady Scholar in the Brady Scholars Program on Ethics and Civic Life. Olivia is from Washington, DC. Outside of class Olivia likes to travel and run.
Fun Fact: Olivia has a saint in her family, can sing the alphabet backwards and studied abroad in Madrid during Fall 2011.
Matt is a sophomore at Northwestern University, majoring in International Studies. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Matt likes to work in various modes of visual art outside of the classroom and sail on Lake Michigan.
Fun fact: Matt plans to study abroad in Tokyo in the fall of 2012 where he hopes to get more involved in design.
1) Donate through paypal here:
1) Are tax deductible through our non-profit fiscal sponsor, Chicago Voyagers! To find out more, click on the Chicago Voyagers tab above.
2) Send checks made out to Chicago Voyagers with "Ty's List" in the Memo to the following address:
A fiscal sponsor is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that agrees to back a project it feels furthers its mission. Tax deductible donations can be made to Chicago Voyagers and the money would go to the project as is specified in an agreement we have with Chicago Voyagers. At least 5% (generally just 5%) of your donation will go directly to Chicago Voyager's programming for at-risk youth.
Chicago Voyagers guides at-risk urban youth by providing outdoor and environmental activities that offer developmental life-changing experiences. They believe in the potential of each youth and that they only need guidance and support to grow into successful, healthy adults. They believe all youth have the right to experience outdoor activities and none should have nature deprivation disorder.
The out-of-doors is the perfect setting to work with youth. It provides many natural lessons while allowing the youth to have fun and improve their physical health. The outdoors exposes youth to the world around them. It gets kids off the couch and combats the national crises in obesity. It gives kids an alternative to gangs and combats the national crises in youth violence.
Chicago Voyagers is an organization with a great mission that we believe shares many of Ty's beliefs and values. Tyler loved the outdoors, and as a sailor and a counselor who led backpacking trips, we know he would have supported this charity. By donating to the film through Chicago Voyagers, you are also supporting a wonderful organization in the Chicago area.
Please make a check payable to Chicago Voyager with "Ty's List" in the memo. Send to:
For all correspondence, please send an email to TysList.TheMovie@gmail.com