We’re all Going to Die – The Festival. Gen Z-something artist and filmmaker Stefan Hunt used poetry to make sense of his anxiety. An impromptu penning of a poem he called ‘we’re all going to die’ bought the realisation that if death was certain, then what did he need to worry about?

“I just want to tell you all that you are all going to die”.

The realisation of living-in-the-face-of-dying was cathartic. After walking the 800km Camino Trail in France and Spain he went to the US, bought an ice-cream van and made a short film (of the same name as the festival) as he drove across the country. One thing lead to another and the idea was born to turn the film into a festival.

We’re all Going to Die – The Festival last Friday (17 November 2017) attracted some 1,300 attendees who were immersed in art installations, a film festival, eye gazing, death meditation and bedroom dancing.

The festival was funded by crowd-sourcing, led by a to-camera video piece by Stephan who shared both about his anxiety and about his heart for using the festival to connect with others.

“By me being vulnerable and putting my story out there, and being so out there, we started getting messages from people and getting their stories”.

Sponsor provided about $30k for the event, and shared their stories. One of the stories was from a 25 year old woman in the UK who wrote about her life after death:

“My boyfriend of 10 years died suddenly and unexpectedly recently, the last few months have been a kick in the guts, everything hurts all the time. It’s bought me face to face with my mortality and funnily enough it doesn’t scare me one little bit anymore. The thing that scares me is the thought that I’m never going to find love like that again. I’m scared that that type of big, overwhelming love only happens once. The prospect of facing the rest of my life without it terrifies me…I’m scared of being the girl who’s boyfriend died, and living the rest of my life as an outsider, watching love from afar and never really feeling it again…I’ve not really spoken about any of this to anyone and everyone sees me as this beacon of strength at the moment and admitting my fears to anyone, even myself, is so scary. I really love what you are doing and I think it’s great. When people talk about their fears and show that tiny, raw piece of vulnerability and get acceptance and compassion in return that can only be a good thing, right? Because that’s what we all want, to be accepted for what we are, fears, flaws and all”.

Stories like this were part of a cathartic experience for Stephan, which he described as one of the most positive forces in his life.

In part his story is about challenging his fears by challenging himself to create community around death anxiety.

Stephan spoke today at a Creative Mornings event in Redfern.

Pic: Stephan Hunt speaking at the Creative Mornings event.