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Exit Music


Artist-musician Ethan Rice was born with a death sentence: cystic fibrosis. Exit Music follows Ethan as he navigates his illness alongside his father Ed, a Vietnam veteran who withdrew from the world to care for his son. Equal parts comedy and heartache, Ethan makes friends with mortality and questions what his absence will mean to those he leaves behind. Interweaving home movies with Ethan’s original music and animation, Exit Music is the last year, last breath, and final creative act of Ethan as he learns to die on his own terms. In a culture that looks away from death, Ethan’s story reminds us that dying is a mysterious and sacred cornerstone of the human experience.


  • Variety
    “Cameron Mullenneaux's toughly moving study of a cystic fibrosis patient's final months thoughtfully avoids the mawkish pitfalls of its subject… Exit Music shoots for some bittersweet hope amid the sadness: that accepting death needn’t always be an act of defeat.”
    Guy Lodge
  • Nonfics
    “…there are few films that will remind you of how precious life is in the process. Not just Ethan Rice’s life, but his family’s lives, your family’s lives, your friends’ lives, your own life. And in that sense, there is a pending feeling of sheer splendor and love that will simultaneously overtake you in your sorrow.”
    Luke Hick
  • Cinema Axis
    “There is a powerful beauty to the sadness in Exit Music that lingers with viewers. In a strange way it is a film about death that ultimately gives the audience life. The film is a reminder that those with illnesses are people first, and should not be defined by their ailments.”
    Courtney Small
  • Beyond Cron
    “…The film unforgettably shows without melodrama or pity what it’s like to live for years with an incurable illness. However relatively short and constrained Ethan’s life may have been, at least Neil Gaiman’s version of Death would have said Ethan got “what everyone gets: a lifetime.”
    Peter Wong
  • Face to Face podcast
    “It is a thoughtful film. It is an engaging piece. It’s heartbreaking. It’s touching. It’s tragic. It’s difficult but it’s also ultimately, absolutely brilliant…”
    David Pec
  • What (Not) To Doc
    Mullenneaux constructs a sensitive and thought-provoking portrait of the process of dying on one’s own terms
    Basil Tsiokos

Festival Participation

  • Hot Docs International Canadian Film Festival - 2018
  • Rooftop Films - 2018
  • Camden International Film Festival - 2018
    Honorable Mention for Emerging Cinematic Vision Award
  • Bergen International Film Festival - 2018
  • Full Frame Documentary Film Festival - 2018
  • Globe Docs - 2018
  • Gimli Film Festival - 2018
  • Ojai Film Festival - 2018
  • Big Sky Documentary Film Festival - 2019
  • Anchorage International Film Festival - 2019
  • SF Indie Fest - 2019

Additional Materials

Distribution Company

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