Traces is a cinematic virtual reality film exploring the memories of one woman living with Alzheimer's disease. In the film, the main character Willie White, an 88-year old woman living with dementia, recounts her time as a young girl living in the fields near Mason, Tennessee. As her words transport us back in time, traces of memory fall in and out—the old wooden farmhouse where she was raised, the coconut cakes her mom would make on Sunday mornings, her favorite white dress, the hymns she’d sing in the choir at church. Through these vibrant recollections, illustrated through re-enactments, we journey with Willie as she searches for the words to one of her favorite songs and the meaning of memory in this new and fragmented landscape.
“A memory is not an object preserved in the museum of our minds. It is a living, changeable thing that is shaped by who we are when we encode it and who we are when we retrieve it.” — Anne Basting
About Willie White
The film is based on a series of audio interviews with Willie White about the memories she has from growing up in Mason, TN. Willie is currently 88-years old and lives in Durham, North Carolina with her daughter and primary caregiver, Phyllis Wyrick. In 2006, Willie was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Though she struggles to remember daily tasks like taking a bath, making a meal and taking her medications, she still has traces of memory that have endured the unforgiving trail of disease.
Cast & Crew
Traces was made in collaboration with Willie's family and her childhood community. The film was shot on location in Mason, Tennessee in and around actual locations of Willie's memory.
Young Willie White — Zipporah Williams
Emily Mae Baskerville (Willie's Mother) — Annie Collier
Joe Baskerville (Willie's father) — Kenneth Farmer
Shirley Baskerville (Willie's sister) — Carissa Morris
Joseph Baskerville (Willie's brother) — Ethan Williams
Gabriela Arp — Director, Producer and Editor
Sean Faust — Sound Engineer
Fred Beahm — VR Post Production
Stephen Les — Stitcher and Colorist
John Hendicott — Sound Design
Kelly Creedon — Production Assistant