About “Neshamah”

PRESS SCREENERvimeo.com/659122617
CONTACTRichard Snyder
(206) 409 5651


DirectorTony Doupe’GafferRachel Weinkauf
Written byRichard SnyderScript SupervisorVivian Chuang
Produced byRichard SnyderProduction SoundBrian Binning
Angela DiMarcoKey Hair and Make UpLisa van Dam Bates
CASTCostume DesignerRonald Leamon
Gary KleinRichard SnyderCasting DirectorAngela DiMarco
Deborah KleinAngela DiMarcoComposerCatherine Joy
Morris KleinNorman NewkirkEditorKris Boustedt
Director of PhotographyAlisa TyrrillAssistant EditorT.K. Johnson
Production SupervisorJustin Robert VinallPost AudioBrian Binning
Production DesignerLisa B. HammondColoristT.K. Johnson
Props MasterMiaddie WinwardCateringAngela Sutherland Puerschner
First Assistant CameraTali ShlaferCovid ComplianceDavid S. Hogan
Key GripMorgan Hendrickson



When an estranged brother and sister learn of their ailing father’s 80th birthday wish for assisted suicide, their love for each other is tested as they decide whether or not to fulfill his shocking request.


My father, Sam Snyder, was a brilliant man who told me many times, “Don’t feel bad about this, but I will kill myself before ever going into a nursing home.” He had a dark sense of humor but was also serious. Unfortunately, he got Alzheimer’s, which overtook his abilities to deal with the complexities of suicide, both legally and logistically. His life became exactly what he never wanted.

As I reflected on his final years, I realized that aging and deterioration is staring me in the face as well; in fact, it’s one of the most universal human experiences. It is tragic and it sucks. At the same time, in my father’s illness, my family found a bit of grace, as his ending allowed us to celebrate his entire life, which was a gift to all of us. I decided to make this film as a love letter to him and my sister (who passed away shortly before him), to help others face the despairs and joys of aging.

Synopsis Short:

Gary and Deborah gather to celebrate their ailing 80-year-old father’s birthday. As they do every year, they open his annual birthday note that he prepared decades ago, but this time they’re shocked to find a request to administer a mental status exam. Because of his end stage Alzheimer’s, he fails the test. His next instruction is help him commit suicide with the deadly pills that he set aside years before.

As Deborah and Gary argue about what to do, years of bottled-up resentment and pain emerge. While they’re distracted, their dad finds the pills on the table, tries to take them, but falls instead. Gary and Deborah rush in to find him on the floor, pills everywhere.

Realizing the depth of their father’s suffering, Gary and Deborah reconcile. They decide that before doing anything, they need to celebrate their father’s life with his birthday cake. As they make the cake, all three of them laugh and enjoy each other’s company. But even as they celebrate, they eye the pills on the counter, debating whether to fulfill their father’s final wish.

Synopsis Long:

Gary, who has spent the last decade caring for his 80-year-old father with worsening Alzheimer’s, waits with his father for his sister Deborah, who has flown in for her once-a-year visit on their dad’s birthday. She bursts into the dining room with her usual flourish, belting out their dad’s favorite song.

As they do every year, they open a note that their dad prepared decades ago for each of his upcoming birthdays. This year’s note is a far cry from the usual funny little quote; instead, it’s a request for a mental status exam. Deborah is willing to do it, but Gary is adamantly opposed. As usual Deborah wins the day, and sure enough, their dad fails the exam. The next page of instructions directs Gary to find the assisted suicide kit that their dad prepared years ago, which even include the necessary lethal pills.

As Gary and Deborah argue about what to do, their dad becomes agitated and soils himself. Gary takes him to the shower and Deborah goes to her dad’s bedroom to get his pajamas. She is devastated by the child-proofed furniture, memories of better times, and evidence of Gary’s halted life.

After Dad is put to bed for a nap, Deborah confronts Gary, arguing that they should grant the wish. Years of resentment emerge as she accuses her brother of using Dad as an excuse to not make something of his life while Gary accuses her of being irresponsible, spoiled and having left him alone to deal with their father.

During their argument, Dad ventures out of his bedroom into the living room, and sees the pills on the table. In his efforts to grab them, he falls to the ground. Gary and Deborah rush in to find him on the floor. While they comfort him, he mistakes Deborah for his deceased wife, Ruth.

Gary breaks down and shows Deborah an old video of him and his dad, in which their dad made him promise to not let him suffer with Alzheimer’s.

Realizing the depth of their father’s suffering, Gary and Deborah reconcile. They decide that before doing anything, they need to celebrate their father’s life with his birthday cake. As they make the cake, all three of them laugh and enjoy each other’s company. But even as they celebrate, they eye the pills on the counter, debating whether to fulfill their father’s final wish.


The film was shot entirely in a historic craftsman home in the University District in Seattle, Washington.


Richard Snyder (Writer/Producer/Actor)

Richard has appeared in films including his award winning, “On the Nature Hotness,” and on stage including his solo show, “In Search of Richard Snyder.” He writes the blog series, “On Being…” which chronicles the challenges and funny moments of life. His acting training includes: Meisner Intensive with Robin Lynn Smith in Seattle, Professional Acting Conservatory Year with Seth Barrish and Lee Brock at the Barrow Group in NYC, on going scene study with Greg Berg at the Berg Studio in LA and Angela DiMarco and David Hogan at Mighty Tripod in Seattle. In addition, he is a father to two wonderful adult children and grandfather to a neurotic Corgi/Chihuahua dog.

Director’s Statement:

I am honored to have directed this film. Every person in our cast and crew, including me, had been effected by the challenge of aging for elders and their children. I hope you are as moved by it as I have been.

Tony Doupe’ (Director)

Tony Doupe’ is a filmmaker based in Seattle, Washington. Tony approaches directing from the perspective of an actor: a 34 year career with more than 90 Actor credits, including multiple feature films, working with such actors as Reese Witherspoon, Beau Bridges, and Ray Liotta. His work has screened at Sundance and SXSW. He has directed more than 100 stage productions and 10 films. When not working as a performing artist himself, he helps the next generation of creative artists find their voices as the head of the filmmaking department at Shoreline Community College. He has two adult sons who also work in the film business and a husky mix dog who doesn’t. His work in “Neshamah” is dedicated and inspired by this own grandmother who bravely faced the challenges of aging.

Angela DiMarco (Producer/Actor)

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington. Angela was cast in her first feature film when she was 10 years old. She attended Summit K-12 Alternative School of the Arts, then studied in the BFA program at Otterbein College before moving to Los Angeles. In 2012 she moved back to Seattle, launched Mighty Tripod Productions and Mighty Tripod Acting Studio with her husband, David S. Hogan. They have produced over two dozen short films, 3 feature films and teach on-going classes and private coaching to actors all over the US. Angela continues to be a working actor on both stage and screen. As a director and producer, her focus continues to be on the importance of Women in Film.

Norman Newkirk (Actor)

Norman was born and raised in upstate New York and moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington School of Drama. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from the UW, a Master of Arts from San Francisco State College and an Associate of Arts in Music Theory and Composition from Shoreline Community College. Norman spent the first part of his career as a stage actor in New York City, then spent 30 years as a professional pianist in New York City and Seattle before returning to acting in 2010. Since then, he has been cast in over 20 films. He is delighted to be a part of the "Neshamah” project and grateful for being with Angela, Richard, Tony and an extremely fine and thoughtful crew. He also lives by his motto of “Be safe, be well, drink water and drive safely.”

Alisa Tyrrill (Director of Photography)

Alisa Tyrrill is a cinematographer based in Seattle. Films she has shot include the 2020 feature Language Arts, directed by Cornelia Duryée and starring Ashley Zukerman and Sarah Shahi, and the upcoming feature Finding Bapu, directed by Sudeshna Sen, along with numerous shorts, music videos, and commercial content. In 2018, Alisa was profiled in ICG Magazine’s feature Generation Next for her accomplishments in cinematography.

Kris Boustedt (Editor)

Kris is an award-winning filmmaker, creating media since 2001. He edits narrative, documentary and commercial projects (for clients like Microsoft, Amazon, REI and the Phoenix Suns), and has written/directed three features and ten shorts (which have garnered over 20M views on YouTube). His narrative work has played festivals like SXSW, Munich, BAFICI, and San Francisco, toured the world, and been broadcast internationally.