2011 Program

Welcome to Life and Death Matters International, Multi-media Festival aka LADmatters

The Colorado-based, international festival celebrated and explored the journey through life via film, theatre, and educational programming. It was the doorway into the BolderLife Festival. In the fall of 2010, journalist/non-profit director Karen van Vuuren and actor/producer Erin Kelly conceived LADmatters as a platform for filmmakers who delve deeply into the nature of the human journey.   Their primary interest was to create programming that was  provocative, educational, and inspirational, to promote a more conscious approach to how we live and how we die. Kelly and van Vuuren wanted to create “more than a film festival,” offering theatre, workshops and seminars in tandem with the line-up of films.

The dynamic group of women that brought this event together was Karen van Vuurn, executive director of Natural Transitions a home funeral service, Erin Kelly, CEO of Rock Rose Entertainment a film and theatre production company, Robin Truesdale of RT Editing & Video Production, and Diane Feliciano-Welpe, Siemens Executive and marketing genius.

The event took place September 1-4, 2011 at the Nomad Theatre in Boulder, Colorado.

Our Goals were to:

  • Educate and inspire, promoting a conscious approach to all facets of life.
  • Create a platform for artists and educators who have delved into the human journey, giving them a place to showcase their work.


Our inaugural festival was a heartwarming success! Four days of fabulous films, original plays, some very special guest speakers, educational workshops, music, food and more… we’re still feeling the glow! The 2011 LADmatters offered:

  • 30 International Films
  • 18 Educational Programs
  • 9 Original Plays
  • Temple Grandin, PhD, Guest Speaker

We kicked it off with an amazing Opening Gala September 1st with musicians Amy McGinnis, and Denise Gentilini and the We Are Voices Project featuring Hazel Miller and Beth Avedis, followed by the breathtaking film Contracorriente (Undertow).

Mark Smolowitz and Isabel Stenzel Byrnes, The Power of Two

From our opening night to the closing ceremony on Sunday, the Nomad Theatre was filled with entertainment, emotional roundtable discussions, exciting on-stage performances, and valuable talkback sessions following films.  Close-by at the Kelly Barn, people danced, laughed, made music, and learned new skills as they participated in educational workshops.

Temple Grandin, PhD delighted us all with her very personal and inspiring presentation about autism, animals, and how we can help our children navigate their educational years.

Temple Grandin talks to the crowd in line for her sold out presentation



We experienced the thrill of live theatre Saturday with nine amazing original plays, all with imaginative themes that reflected on some aspect of life and death (including mayflies and having a deity as a boyfriend!).

Our film selection brought laughter, tears, applause, and in-depth discussion. Controversial topics were examined, ‘taboo’ subjects were brought to light. We hosted an array of filmmakers from as far away as Germany and England and celebrated their willingness to travel to Boulder and be a part of it all.

Lisa Cerasoli accepts her award

We closed out our festival with opening music from cellist Phil Norman followed by wonderful guests speakers – Congressman Jared Polis, CU Theatre Professor Beth Osnes, Boulder International Film Festival Director Kathy Beeck – and ended with a rousing award ceremony. It was a pleasure to recognize all of those who made the festival a success, and we congratulate our award winners!

Special thanks to the evening’s musical guests: Mr. Piano, cellist Phil Norman, and Tendai Muparutsa and the Colorado Marimba All Stars!

2011 LADmatters Opening Gala 


Karen van Vuuren

Erin Kelly

Robin Truesdale

Diane Feliciano-Welpe