Never Actually Lost

BFI Doc Society: Made of Truth


David Brown


John Archer


Rowan Ings


Production support


‘Never Actually Lost’ is the story of the filmmaker’s Grandmother, Audrey Anderson’s life and death, created in the last year of her life.

Suffering from dementia, Audrey attempts to recount stories behind her rich archival library of home video, shot in and around Glasgow. When the search for the truth behind Audrey’s lived experience proves unforthcoming, the film becomes a study of what remains. As memory fails, the images become increasingly authoritative as the truest representation of the past, as archive, and the present, in contemporary observational footage. The film asks what we do with the images that comprise a lifetime, and what we need for them to have enduring meaning.

Filmed over the course of Audrey’s last year and the ensuing months following her death, Never Actually Lost serves as an exploration of memory, legacy and loss. Following Audrey’s death, the film turns to her daughter, the filmmaker’s mother. Lois Anderson is a stone carver, setting about to carve her mother’s grave in Glasgow. Drawing on the archival film and gravestone, the film explores the materiality of memory.

‘Never Actually Lost’ asks how we remember our own selves and explores how we attempt to remember someone else.