The When You Die Trilogy

Because one just wasn’t enough!

Director Johanna Lunn guides viewers on a personal journey to find answers by, exploring stories of near-death experiences, deathbed visions and more. She speaks with the leading clinicians and researcher who have spent their careers studying these experiences and the nature of consciousness. Their stories are revealed with humour and compassion.

Exploring what happens after death not only helps us decide how we want to be cared for at the end of life, but it reduces our fear of death and helps us live more fully.

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By addresses our mortality head on, viewers are guided through some of our most avoided questions: What is a good death? Could we possibly heal old emotional wounds as death approaches? Where do we want to die? What quality of life is enough? What is a conscious death? Could we have one?

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Chapter 3

Architecture of Death:

The Inner World of Dying

Was your dying Grandfather really talking to his dead wife? Does death have to be painful? Could we heal old emotional wounds as death approaches? How do relationships within a family change as death approaches? Is there a transcendent realm? What quality of life is enough for you? Director Johanna Lunn delves into the final months, weeks, days and hours before we die by exploring the physical, mental and spiritual process we may experience at the end.

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Director’s Note

on the When You Die Trilogy

Over a two-and-a-half-year period, starting when I was 19, three very significant deaths entered my life that completely cracked my world apart. Because people were afraid of death and didn’t know what to say to someone in grief, I felt deeply alone and pushed aside. Talking about death was really taboo at that time. Grief and grieving were swept under the carpet. Although it was a long and difficult journey for me, on reflection and with the advantage of time passing, I realize now how hard it must be for the dying when the people who love them most are afraid to talk with them.

As a filmmaker, I stepped humbly into the world of death and dying informed by my own traumatic experiences as a young person and seasoned by time and the inevitable losses around me that come with aging. My goal was to produce a single feature length documentary. As I began to research the film my creative and business partner James Hoagland and I started a website that linked to the many resources I was exploring. Soon we felt the website could be of great benefit to others. It became a place filled with information, a place to find answers as well as a place that raised questions previously unthought of. Eighteen on-camera interviews later, the single documentary became three, the website got fuller, a podcast was added and the When You Die Project was born with the primary goal of giving people something to talk about. After all, we are most afraid of what we don’t know, but exploring death and dying brings the subject into our day-to-day life and reduces our fear enormously. I genuinely hope these films and the project on a whole, are helpful to as many people as possible!

Johanna J. Lunn

Researchers, clinicians, and near-death experiencers, who have spent their lives exploring death, dying, and the great mysteries of what happens after you die, share their wisdom.

What People are Saying About the Films

Jo Ann

I witnessed my dad’s spirit (a white mist) leave his body at least an hour before he took his last breath. Before his spirit left his body, he kept holding his arms up as if he was being lifted.

Jan W

Beautiful, skillful, deep, clear, kind, clever, obviously brilliant, and no doubt will be helpful to many people. I hope you can disseminate it widely. Thank you all. Most warmly.

Kim Maheral

That was wonderfully done! Thank you


Thank you for the opportunity to pre screen this film.

My question…after a person experiences a NDE, how do they continue to live on the Earthly plain in a contented, satisfied way? It seems everyone would want to back to the place of expanded consciousness…


This film brought me to tears several times, dying seems to be such a sacred journey. When I worked with Hospice and with the deaths of family, it was a time of heightened awareness,. I felt the energy and movement with each passing. There were reunions with dead family members, words of wonderful things awaiting us, and other meaningful experiences.
I also agree that science and faith are joining more today than ever before. What I had believed with faith alone is now being explored and explained by science.
Thank you for the film. I enjoyed it immensely.


Wow……… thank you for easing my fear of death ❤️

Our Partners

Our Creators



Johanna has worked in the film and television business for over 30 years. In that time, she has started up a PBS station, created a ground-breaking children’s film festival and was Artistic Director of the Atlantic Film Festival. She also launched the Independent Film Channel Canada, produced and directed over 150 hours of award-winning television, and produced and directed five documentary films, one of which won Best Documentary in its class at Hot Docs.

“At a young age I witnessed a number of significant deaths that completely cracked my world apart. Because it was taboo to talk about death at the time, I felt terribly isolated. Looking back on those experiences, and with the wisdom of having done much research on dying, I have learned that death, like birth, is one of the most extraordinary events in life, and it is critical that we learn to talk about it.”

Executive Producer

James H. Hoagland





James has been working in the film and video industry since 1976, as a producer, camera operator, sound recordist or editor on over 30 motion pictures. James also served as an archival technical director in Nova Scotia where he was responsible for restoring over 300 hours of deteriorating video tapes.

“When Johanna proposed the idea of doing a project together around end-of-life issues, it felt really right to me because both my parents had recently passed away, and the thought of a series on life’s last journey into the unknown seemed like an important project to undertake.”

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