RadioWest Films

Memory's Last Breath

Jun 12, 2017

In 2010, Gerda Saunders learned that she has dementia. She was 61 years old at the time, and soon had to leave her post teaching at the University of Utah. So Gerda started writing what she calls her field notes on dementia. The result is a new memoir due out this week. We’ve been following Gerda over the last year with a series of short films documenting her journey, and Monday, Doug sits down to talk to her about her book. It’s called Memory’s Last Breath.

Questions surrounding suicide have been with us for at least as long as we’ve had written record, and the answers are as varied as the times and places where they were discussed. Wednesday, Doug sits down with philosophy scholar Margaret Battin. She’s spent her career collecting the works of religious and secular thinkers regarding suicide. It has been considered noble, immoral, heroic and cowardly, and we’ll talk about what all of those views teach us about end-of-life issues today.

Invented Languages

Sep 22, 2015

Tuesday, we’re talking about 'ach yIn nuvpu' Hol chenmoH 'Iv, Klingon for “people who create language.” Constructed languages aren’t just for science fiction though. The linguist Arika Okrent says that people have been inventing their own languages for centuries. They’ve wanted to better understand the world, build Utopia or create artistic expression. She’ll join us, along with filmmakers working on a documentary about “conlangs”, to explore how playing with language helps us understand ourselves.

Wednesday, Doug’s guest is Ardean Watts, who served as associate conductor of the Utah Symphony and is Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Utah. Watts says that if there’s one unifying theme in his life though, it’s that he’s a generalist who is interested in everything. So, we’ll ask him to tell us stories from his distinguished music career, but we’ll also talk about his LDS background, raising a family of 8 kids, Chinese philosophy, mushroom hunting and more.

LDS Missions

Aug 24, 2015

Two men with white shirts and name badges may be *the* stereotype of Mormons. 85,000 missionaries are currently proselytizing for the LDS Church, but that’s not all a mission is for. The scholar Patrick Mason says it’s a rite of passage, as much about making and keeping the missionary a member of the church as it is recruiting new converts. Monday, Mason and historian Greg Prince join Doug to discuss the history of LDS missions, what’s changing and what it all means for the young men and women who serve.

At the remote Rozel Point on the Great Salt Lake sits the land art sculpture Spiral Jetty. In 1970, the artist Robert Smithson chose the spot for his 6,000 ton, 1,500 feet long spiral. But experiencing the work isn’t just about viewing it, it’s also about the pilgrimage over miles of rough roads northeast of the lake. We’re premiering a new short film on VideoWest with the Spiral Jetty at its center, so Tuesday on the program we’re talking about it – where the Spiral Jetty fits in the land art movement and what Smithson hoped people would experience on the shores of the Great Salt Lake.

Whether you are sitting at your desk, in the kitchen, or walking down the street, you’re likely near something that came from a tree. But biologist and world-renowned tree expert Nalini Nakarni says that our relationship with trees goes much deeper than the resources they provide. From spirituality and recreation to medicine and the arts, trees play many roles in our lives. Wednesday, Nakarni joins Doug to discuss what trees can teach us about our place in the world.

In 1850, Salt Lake City welcomed the birth of its first newspaper. The Deseret News has been a part of Utah’s history ever since, making it the oldest gazette west of the Missouri River. The Salt Lake Tribune was a thorn in its competitor’s side for decades, especially in the early days, when its stated purpose was to oppose Brigham Young. Historian Will Bagley joins us Monday to explore the rivalrous and colorful histories of the two newspapers as their future together hangs in the balance. 

Paralyze Me

Oct 29, 2013

Tuesday, we're telling the story of Chloe Jennings-White. Chloe has a PhD in Chemistry, she holds several patents and she lives an active life. She is also in a wheelchair, but she's there because it's where she feels most comfortable. Chloe has a rare condition called Body Integrity Identity Disorder, which means she's always felt that her left leg wasn't really meant to be part of her. We'll premiere a new VideoWest documentary about Chloe Jennings-White and talk to her – along with Columbia University psychiatrist Michael First – about BIID.