Where There’s Smoke

  • Lance Weiler
  • United States
  • 2020
  • 85 min
  • Performance, Immersive, Digital
  • World Premiere
  • IDFA on Stage, do not touch, IDFA DocLab Competition for Immersive Non-Fiction

Lance Weiler’s father was both a loyal member of the volunteer fire department, and an enthusiastic amateur photographer of the fires he fought. In the 1980s, his family was itself the victim of two fires—first their van went up in flames, and less than a year later so did their house. The cause was never discovered. In this interactive inquiry, Weiler connects these mysterious fires to the final months of his father’s life. Despite being stricken with cancer, he allowed his son to interview him at length.

The interview recordings form the core of this live documentary experience centering on memory and loss. The initial project was a physical installation in which four people could participate, but during lockdown it was converted into an online experience for dozens of users at a time—using the same publicly-available online tools that have kept offices functioning in the same period. Weiler proves that Zoom video conferencing software and the online notebook Miro can also be used as instruments for telling an emotional story, and even to create intimacy.


  • 85 min
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: English
Lance Weiler
Weiler Productions, Nick Childs
Key collaborator
Columbia DSL
Executive producer
Mary Beth O'connor , Carl Moellenberg
Peter English

IDFA history

World Premiere
IDFA on Stage
do not touch
IDFA DocLab Competition for Immersive Non-Fiction

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IDFA history

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