Little Empty Boxes – Co-directors Max Lugavere & Chris Newhard

In this quietly powerful documentary, Little Empty Boxes strong and independent woman, Kathy Lugavere finds herself struggling with her memory. In a quest to find his mother the  best care, 32-year-old son Max moves home to New York City and begins to consult with top health experts to investigate the origins of Dementia, a disease which now affects a staggering 55 million people globally. The deeply personal film chronicles Kathy’s experience with Dementia as Max explores methods outside of prescription medication to slow her illness down. LITTLE EMPTY BOXES presents a raw perspective of Kathy’s journey, the hardships of being a caretaker, and a son willing to do anything to save his mother. Co-directors Max Lugavere (Genius Foods) and Chris Newhard (Are You Lonely, Self Tape) join us for a conversation about their loving and observant film about a woman grappling with her own mortality and a devoted son doing his best to help her navigate the relentless cruelty of dementia.


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About the filmmaker – Max Lugavere is a health and science journalist, filmmaker, and bestselling author. He is the author of the Genius trilogy of books, including the New York Times bestseller Genius Foods and the Wall Street Journal bestseller Genius Kitchen. He hosts The Genius Life podcast, one of the top health and wellness podcasts in the U.S, and has an audience of over 1.5 million followers across social media. His contributions to programs like The Rachael Ray Show, The Today Show, PBS’s Brief but Spectacular, and The Doctors, along with features in VICE, Fast Company, The New York Times, People Magazine, and CNN, and appearances on The Joe Rogan Experience and The Diary of a CEO, have made him a respected and well-known voice in the field. 

About the filmmaker – Indie Filmmaker Chris Newhard, a native of Pennsylvania, has worked across the continental USA, Central America, Africa, and Europe for the last 16 years. Grounded in fine arts, design, and drama club as a teen, his work tends to delve into the shadows of life and the conflicts of being human. Since college, Chris has had a camera in his hand and searches the world for frames of perfect imperfections. Thematically, his filmmaking style could be described as being both hopeful and authentic to the human experience with a sprinkle of anti-commercialism. His film school thesis, “Pearl” (2010, 20 min), explores falling in love while terminally ill, and kickstarted a career shining light on the darker themes in life. As his career became more fluid, his work had to expand and contract, allowing him to work in the music industry as a music video director, working with artists like Sia, Maroon 5, Sirah, Chevelle, Grayscale, Jessie J, American Authors, and many more. His first documentary film, “Are You Lonely” (2012, 55 min), follows American Folk band The End of America to the Adirondack mountains as they travel by canoe to a small island to write their album. In 2013, after spending time in Africa working on a documentary feature about the Peace Train, South Africa’s first 500 voice multiracial band and youth choir in 1992 that toured the country by train during Apartheid, he traveled the US on tour with Grammy winning Pop Rock band Train. Over the course of his career he has shot many documentaries, short films, and commercials. 2023 saw the release of his latest short, “Self Tape” (25 min), which explores the intricacies and anxiety-inducing choices of an aspiring actress in the modern film industry. His most recent Documentary, “Little Empty Boxes”, tears down the walls of the realities of battling dementia, and was co-directed alongside Max Lugavere. 


“The film’s determination to shed light on systemic causes of dementia is admirable, but the real takeaway of Little Empty Boxes is that caring for a parent in a state of serious decline is an impossible task.” – Christian Zilko, indieWire

“Little Empty Boxes gets its message across in a less direct manner than a lot of films, and that’s a good thing.” – Christopher Campbell, Nonfics

“A poignant and illuminating documentary. Little Empty Boxers is a potent reminder that there’s always hope for some light at the end of a dark tunnel.” – Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru