The feature documentary, part of HBO’s 10-week Documentary Films summer 2010 schedule, visits the little Victorian-style village of Lily Dale, N.Y., south of Buffalo. Lily Dale boasts the world’s largest community of mediums who claim to communicate with the dead.
The film follows people from all over the world who flock to the village every summer to have questions answered and chronicles their extraordinary interactions with Lily Dale’s unusual residents.
Viewers cross the path of Ron Holt, a Chicago Police Officer, whose son Blair was tragically gunned down in a random act of gang violence. Ron is trying to make peace with his son’s death and the spirits that haunt him.
Susan Hinrichs, a born-again Evangelic Christian, questions her religious faith in hopes of communicating with her son Scotty, who died from a deteriorating form of cancer at the age of 18.
Widow Rebekah Fabricius journeys from Ohio trying to connect with her late partner who had a tragic death. She wants to get answers, test her faith, and find the closure she’s been lacking since her husband’s passing.
Clark, who was raised Southern Baptist, said the documentary does not take a stand on the town’s spiritualism which has been around since the 1800s.
“It’s more about the journey of these people who are looking for answers,” he said. “There is a scene where people confront the Lily Dale people about their beliefs. “No One Dies in Lily Dale” is not just about the religion of Spiritualism. It’s a film that explores many universal issues including faith, loss, spirituality, religious freedom, and the afterlife.
“We, as filmmakers, have chosen not to support one agenda over the other but instead, present both sides and leave it up to the viewer to form their own opinions. At the heart of the film is a unique, picturesque town in upstate New York with a long and rich history that continues to attract tens of thousands of visitors each summer.”
Clark was previously a producer for MTV Networks and is currently the Chief Operating Officer and Head of Production for Stick Figure Productions in New York City where he resides.
According to Clark, 55, he and his production partners Daniel Laikind and Steve Cantor have been “batting back and forth” the idea of filming people’s experiences in the Lily Dale area for years.
“A couple of years ago, we took a meeting with producer Allan Grafman who serves as an executive producer on the film to discuss several potential television projects — one of them being “Lily Dale,” Clark explained. “Together, we developed the story idea and eventually pitched it to HBO as a feature length documentary.”
HBO was interested and Stick Figure Productions got the green light to go ahead with the filming of the documentary feature. Clark said they would like to do a TV series based on Lily Dale since “there are a lot more stories to tell.”
Stick Figure is a leading producer of documentary and reality television programs including “Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane” for the Style Network and “Repossessed!,” which is currently airing on the National Geographic Channel.
“No One Dies in Lily Dale,” directed by Steven Cantor, is scheduled to premiere on HBO at 9 p.m. on July 5. Clark attended Bradley Central High School (Class of ’72) and later attended the University of Tennessee where he was head cheerleader and served on the UT Athletics Board.
Most of Clark’s immediate family still lives in the Cleveland area and are known by local residents through their involvement with Fulbright Park and the Bradley County Sports for Youth program, which Terry’s father, Jim, directed during the 1960s and 70s.
Clark said he is looking forward to being in Cleveland June 24 to July 6.