By Jesse Swedlund
The grieving process is a difficult, winding journey that is different for everyone. For us, making Ty’s List was our way of processing the young death of our friend Tyler Lorenzi while simultaneously paying homage to his vibrant and daring lifestyle. For our subjects, three of Ty’s close friends from different chapters of his life—Doug, Becky and Steve—this film was a cathartic healing experience. For our viewers, this film is an intimate exploration of death and what it means to live life to the fullest.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of grieving is learning how to move forward, how we might glean something meaningful from tragedy. In Ty’s case, we found inspiration in his ability to say “yes,” how he embraced the uncertainty of life and how he chose to take the risks that make life worth living. When he died, it became clear to us that his life philosophy was something people could learn from. Armed with a list he wrote of his favorite things to do in his hometown of San Francisco and an open mind, we took a leap and dove headlong into the journey that became Ty’s List.
The viewer is asked not only to come along for the ride, but to be an active, thoughtful participant in examining his or her own life. As we watch Doug, Becky and Steve get to know each other as they wade through the stages of their grief, it becomes clear that each individual embodies a different understanding about life and death and what it means to live life to the fullest. The audience is invited to ponder their own approach to life while being reminded that while we can’t chose how we might die, we can choose how we will live.
As filmmakers it was a joy to watch our subjects discover and transform, open their hearts, and reiterate the powerful influence of adventure and love. It is our hope that the film can lead the viewer through a similar journey.