“…courageous end-of-life chronicle, which overflows with compassion and shows us how to live mindfully while embracing curiosity about what lies beyond.”
Ethan Sisser, a young man with terminal brain cancer, sits alone in his hospital room. When he starts livestreaming his death journey on social media, thousands of people around the world join to celebrate his courage. Still, Ethan envisions more – to teach the world how to die without fear. To do that, he needs to film his death.
Honoring Ethan's wish, his doctor Aditi Sethi transports him to an idyllic house in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. What unfolds next is a story rarely glimpsed: how a community of strangers helps a young man die with grace.
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.
ROSHI JOAN HALIFAX, Ph.D
Buddhist Teacher & Founder,
Unaya Zen Center
“This film blew me away. You just can't help but love Ethan the moment he opens his TikTok and invites you into his life. What was so powerful was that it's not the Dalai Lama or Ram Dass. When someone like Ethan opens up so deeply, I realize I can do that too. Ethan became a teacher for me. I hope everyone will see this extraordinary film."
Acclaimed Director,Once Within A Time & The Qatsi Trilogy
“While Ethan's body is disappearing, his heart is growing stronger. He fills it full of love and lets us watch him die. This is the story not only to be told, but to be held, of an angel of light upon our planet.”
WILLIAM LEONARD PICKARD
Author, The Rose of Paracelus
“As no other film, The Last Ecstatic Days addresses the frightening, wondrous and unspeakable: the transition of us all between divinities - our life and the mystery beyond. Among its revelations is that death is the greatest adventure. Dazzling, sacred, we enter the realm of infinite grace. It shows us a more noble way of dying, the gentle songs of friends, the touching, the honoring of those who have no voice. May the teachings of The Last Ecstatic Days allow us to be more civilized and loving, so no one dies alone and forgotten”
Executive Director, CINE FE
Grammy-Award Winning Musician
“The Last Ecstatic Days is unlike anything I’ve seen. Gentle but raw, unsparing but filled with grace, the film bears witness to the final human experience and invites us to imagine what a more human, thoughtful, and holistic approach to death might be - and to lovingly imagine our own.”
"To participate in such a raw and true instance of reckoning with mortality reminds us that this process can be beautiful, communal, and ceremonial."
“I was scared to death of death...
Then I met Ethan Sisser.”
Director's Statement from Scott Kirschenbaum
Growing up I never had words to describe my agonizing fear of death.
I wanted to stay home from kindergarten on my fifth birthday because the thought of five years passing paralyzed me. The fear of my life ending, and perhaps nothing after, tormented me and eventually transformed into chronic depression.
It was the height of Covid when a stranger with terminal brain cancer named Ethan “E3” Sisser — about my age, whom I had never met — asked me to tell the story of his death. He was 36, I was 40. Questions ran through my spine. Why him and not me? What kind of filmmaker am I if I didn’t honor Ethan’s request to document the end of his life?
Ethan had begun 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.” He asked, begged, for permission to die in community, even among strangers.
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 full 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.