Almost Heaven

Carol Salter
2017 | 75 minutes
Country of Production: United Kingdom
Country Featured: China
US Premiere | Director in Attendance 

This heartfelt coming-of-age story follows the life of Ying Ling, a 17-year-old trainee at a funeral parlor in Changsha, China. With a combination of humor and tenderness, the film captures Ying’s universal struggle to adapt to her new life: she calls her parents often, spends a night at the mall, and tries to stave off the boredom of daily work.

Co-presented by Asia Society, China Institute, and British Consulate New York


Activate: My Perspective

“Death is the most primal reality we face—it is the only given we have in life. However we tend to avoid talking and thinking about it. I want people to think, reflect, and hopefully start a conversation about this. Almost Heaven follows a young woman just starting to learn about life, but who, through her job as a mortician, is faced with the cold reality of death every day. The process of making the film and seeing the young morticians prepare the bodies with care and tenderness opened my mind in a number of ways. I have gained a greater understanding and insight into how to treat our loved ones after they die. I want the film to offer these insights to both an audience with no immediate experience of dealing with death and also to those who have experienced losing a loved one.”

—  Carol Salter | Director, Almost Heaven