Library of Dust
2011 – Best Documentary – Traverse City Film Festival
2011 – Best Documentary Short – Int’l Film Festival of Puerto Rico
2011 – Special Jury Prize Artistic Vision – Napa Valley Film Festival
2011 – SXSW Grand Jury Award – SXSW Film Festival
2012 – Best Documentary Short – Taos Film Festival
2012 – Best Documentary Short – Tribeca Film Festival
2012 – GJP for Best Documentary Short – Seattle International Film Festival
When the President of the Oregon State Senate and members of the press toured Oregon State Hospital in 2004, they uncovered a dysfunctional facility that subjected patients and staff to deplorable conditions. A series of Pulitzer Prize-winning articles by The Oregonian and stunning photographs taken by David Maisel revealed problems that had been buried for years by shame and neglect.
While current psychiatric patients languished in antiquated and overcrowded facilities, some of the hospital’s former patients remained trapped within its walls. A forgotten storeroom, filled with thousands of copper urns, contained the abandoned ashes of cremated patients dating back to the early 1900’s.
Ondi Timoner joined forces with friend and filmmaker Robert James to tell the powerful story of these neglected souls. In Oregon, hundreds of families reclaimed their lost relatives and the State was forced to revolutionize its mental health care system. Throughout America, millions of urns are still waiting to be rediscovered. Library of Dust asks us to honestly confront the uncomfortable subjects of death and mental illness.