Underground Film Journal

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Garrett Scott, R.I.P.

Portrait of Garrett Scott

I received the bad news yesterday that documentary filmmaker Garrett Scott passed away suddenly of a heart attack on Thursday. He was just 37 years old. You can read about it on Indiewire.com.

I never met Garrett, but I was a huge fan of the two documentaries he co-directed with his partner Ian Olds, Cul de Sac: A Suburban War Story and Occupation: Dreamland. My review of Cul de Sac from the 2002 New York Underground Film Festival is one of the most searched for reviews on the Journal of Underground Film and unfortunately I don’t think it’s available on DVD. It’s an incredibly sightful and moving look at Shawn Nelson, who drove a tank across San Diego in a rampage of destruction.

Occupation: Dreamland, about soldiers in Fallujah, Iraq during the winter of 2004 just before the city was obliterated by the Marines, was just released on DVD and I highly recommend it. The access Garrett and Ian got with these soldiers is just amazing and the two filmmakers get themselves in more than one hair-raising situatio. It’s really an amazing portrait showing the various perspectives on the war by the troops on the ground.

This is a tragic loss for the documentary and indie film worlds, as well as the entire film community. Dreamland is also up for the Truer Than Fiction award at the Independent Film Awards tonight. I hoped it won before and that goes doubly true now. Garrett was planning on attending the awards ceremony. I also hope his partner Ian Olds continues making documentary films.

Update: I was glad to see Occupation: Dreamland win the Independent Spirit award tonight. With it comes a $25,000 grant from Film Independent, which I know Ian will put to terrific use. Ian gave a very impassioned speech during his acceptance, which must have been hard to do. He did great.