A father’s COVID-19 coffin-building project provokes playful but serious family discussion about death.

What happens when we die? Can we ever shake our fear of death?

Cailleah was raised to face hard topics straight on. From the time she was a child, her family improvised rituals and filmed home interviews to “inoculate” her brother and her against life’s biggest questions — the kind her dad says, “adults can never answer but kids, if they are young enough, can.”

Then came COVID…and news that her dad was building a coffin. That seemed a bridge too far, even for him. Was it a death-defying act? Or just something to do with his hands? The family joked about how he’s an old dad who’s young at heart.

But they had to know: did he sense something in his bones? Was this his way of making them face the truth about the future?

Rockin’ the Coffin offers a contrarian’s guide to the good death using animation, creativity and play to address our most terrifying fears and the mysteries at the heart of life: how can we prepare for death and loss? What happens if we try?

Rockin’ the Coffin

A perpetual asker of big questions, Cailleah has appeared on both sides of the camera,
seeking to shed a little light on the human experience. Her directing projects have led her to
work in the US, Europe and Japan. She holds an honours BA in Visual Studies and East
Asian Studies from the University of Toronto and an MFA in Film at York University.

As a Jane-of-all-Trades, Cailleah works to bridge cultural, social and technological gaps
through illustration and film. Her debut documentary, ​She Got Game ​(2015) took home Best
of Fest at Fan Expo Canada. In 2018, her feature editing debut,​ ​Slut or Nut: The Diary of a
Rape Trial,​ ​premiered at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival.
Her latest documentary ​Mother Tongues: The Journey of Tam Goossen​ (2019) is now
available on​ CBC’s educational platform, Curio​.

Rockin’ the Coffin​ is Cailleah’s first animated film, inspired by illustrators and woodcut artists
who delve into the intersection of beauty, humour and the macabre. When she’s not
shooting, you can find her dead-lifting at the gym, jamming with​ Beatsync​ Acappella or
curled up with her Japanese comics.