Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles

It all started a long time ago, in a lifetime far, far away. It was the summer of 2005, and in a mild fit of mania, I decided to solve the mystery of the Toynbee tiles. I visited South Philadelphia, wrote a couple articles on my hard-coded html blog, and researched what I could through interviews and internet resources. It didn’t take long to identify Justin Duerr as the person I needed to talk to. I knew of Justin, and our orbits intersected through people, art and geography, but I didn’t meet him until this project got started.

Parallel to my own research, filming had just begun for what became Resurrect Dead. Within a couple weeks, I sat for an on-camera interview. Over the course of my research, additional interviews and a growing friendship with the filmmakers, I became a member of the 4-person team.  My role developed into on/off screen researcher, photographer and associate producer.

Resurrect Dead premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, where Jon Foy won the Directing Award for U.S. Documentary. The story charmed enough people to get decent distribution on all platforms, and later earned a top 5 spot (above Werner Herzog and below Errol Morris) in Roger Ebert’s documentary picks for 2011.



Foy, a first-time director, shows a gift here for bringing together reenacted scenes, talking heads, graphics and many shots of the Tiles, and driving them with his own urgent score. The film is confoundingly watchable. – Roger Ebert