When to Die

Inside the World of Civil War Reenacting

When To Die is a film that examines the legacy of the United States Civil War through reenactors.


When to Die is a feature length documentary that examines the legacy of the United States Civil War through the eyes of reenactors. The documentary is an in-depth look into the phenomenon of Civil War reenacting, and how it both reinforces and challenges larger cultural trends that are – to this day - defined by the aftermath of the Civil War.

Shot over the closing years of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War (2013-2015), When to Die captures the civilian and Civil War journeys of four reenactors across the North and South of the United States. For many, the anniversary marks a high note to end their reenacting journey. For others, it marks a fresh start. It was an emotionally charged and timely moment to film these very different American stories bound together by a deep love of history, shedding light on the country's unique passion for heritage. Civil War reenacting is as much about contemporary life as it is about resurrecting the lives of those from the 1860's.

We hope When to Die will be a springboard for a coversation about the importance of history, how it informs contemporary society, and the current social challenges the United States faces - all while giving insight into what makes us human.