Ethan Sisser, a young man afflicted with brain cancer, sits alone in his hospital room. When he begins live-streaming his death journey on social media, thousands of people around the
world join him and celebrate his courage. Still, Ethan envisions more – to teach the world how to die. To honor his final wish of filming his death, his doctor, Aditi Sethi, transports
him to a quiet house in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. What unfolds next is a story that’s rarely glimpsed: how a community of strangers helps an unhoused man
die on his own terms.

A sensory immersion into leaving the body, The Last Ecstatic Days reveals a man who will not let us forget him – even after he’s taken his final breath.

  • Scott Lawrence Kirschenbaum
    These Are My Hours, You're Looking At Me Like I Live Here And I Don't, A Soapbox in Haiti
  • Tommy Pallotta
    Executive Producer
    "Apollo 10 1/2," "Waking Life," "A Scanner Darkly"
  • Jessica Zitter
    Executive Producer
    Extremis, Caregiver: A Love Story
  • David Seidler
    Executive Producer
    "The King's Speech," "The Queen of Spades," "Tucker: The Man and His Dream"
  • Gail Harris
    Co-Executive Producer
    "Body and Soul"
  • Alex Harvey
    Walden: Life in the Woods, I am a Seagull
  • Scott Kirschenbaum
    These Are My Hours, You're Looking At Me Like I Live Here And I Don't, A Soapbox in Haiti, Elementary Cool
  • Hannah Fowler
  • Prerana Thakurdesai
    The Essential Worker, 9/11: The Legacy
  • David Raymond
  • Jeannie Blaustein
    Defining Hope, Caregiver: A Love Story, Wrestling Jerusalem
  • Landon Thomas Maloney
  • Becky Boisvert
    Contributing Producer
    These Are My Hours
  • Rod Murphy
  • Alexandr Beran
    "Silent Spectrum," "I'm Sorry, Alligator"
  • Catie Cacci
    "Sushi: The Global Catch," "Day 5," "7 Years and Counting: The Unjust Imprisonment of Marvin Guy"
  • Ethan Sisser
    Key Cast
  • Aditi Sethi
    Key Cast
  • Linda Sisser
    Key Cast
  • Ethan Sisser
  • Scott Kirschenbaum
  • Landon Maloney
    Art Directors
  • Ernesto Borges
    Camera Operators
  • Taylor Clark Johnson
    Camera Operators
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Feature, Web / New Media
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 14 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    March 10, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    450,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Distribution Information
  • Mike Abrams, Industry Entertainment
    Sales Agent
    Country: United States
Director Biography - Scott Lawrence Kirschenbaum

Scott L. Kirschenbaum’s films include the Alzheimer's documentary “YOU'RE LOOKING AT ME LIKE I LIVE HERE, BUT I DON'T,” which aired on PBS' Emmy award-winning program Independent Lens, and serves as a teaching tool for nonprofits, universities, public libraries and conferences; the speaker series “A SOAPBOX IN HAITI” which was featured on ABC World News, premiered on Haitian television stations on the one-year anniversary of the earthquake and is taught in Haitian studies programs; the birth documentary “These Are My Hours," which was called “the most cinematic birth documentary ever” by No Film School and has been distributed and taught in birth courses worldwide; “ELEMENTARY COOL,” about a young Sudanese refugee girl’s first day at an American elementary school, which premiered nationally at Playworks’ PlayOn Conference; and “JUMOR: A JOURNEY THROUGH JEWISH HUMOR,” a documentary about lovely (and curmudgeonly) old Jews.

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Director Statement

“Maybe There’s Another Way to Die”

Growing up I never had words to describe my agonizing fear of death. All I had were Holocaust images seared into my psyche and a voiceless G-d lingering in a synagogue where people spoke of not living on after death.

The loss associated with death was so all-encompassing, I wanted to stay home from kindergarten on my fifth birthday because the thought of five years passing paralyzed me. Mortality-induced stomach aches ate at me throughout elementary school.

I became chronically depressed, terrified of what it would mean to no longer exist. Forgotten, alone, gone for eternity.

So what was I supposed to do at the height of Covid when a stranger with terminal brain cancer named Ethan “E3” Sisser — whom I had never met — asked me to tell the story of his death?

He was 36, I was 40. We were both Jewish. Why him and not me?

What kind of filmmaker am I if I don’t honor Ethan’s last request to document the end of his life? And yet would I be able to stare directly into the eyes of a dying man who so closely resembled me, effectively staring my own death in the face?

When I finally began to center my greatest fear in the camera lens, I settled in to learn more about Ethan’s death journey. For eighteen months he had been diligently live-streaming the raw reality of his physical decline. But he wasn’t a downer; he lit up his corner of social media. All over the world people repeated his mantra: “I am embodied. I am empowered. I am ecstatic.” When I first saw Ethan on TikTok I saw an unsung mensch – soul ajar, light-hearted, brimming with love.

Ethan was so certain of the uplifting story he knew his death could be that he asked, begged, for permission to die in community, even among strangers.

We all want to feel brave enough to ask for love but who actually does? In his determination to not die a terribly lonely death, Ethan turned brain cancer into a cause célèbre. He posed the unthinkable: “Can death be fun?”

The Last Ecstatic Days is radical because it laughs at taboo. It’s not simply a film about death; it invites you to experience the expanse of the death journey in order to live more fully.

“What if the next practice is to just be present and let go?”

Those were Ethan’s last words.

There is value in learning how to “let go” and leave the body with love, and that is Ethan Sisser’s legacy.