ONE MAN DIES A MILLION TIMES (2019) with seed bank researcher Sarah Hollis: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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ONE MAN DIES A MILLION TIMES (2019) with seed bank researcher Sarah Hollis

Black and white close up of a young woman wiping her brown with a hand covered in soil
Image credit: ONE MAN DIES A MILLION TIMES (2019)
7 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Thu March 7, 2024
7 PM


The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public


ONE MAN DIES A MILLION TIMES (2019) with seed bank researcher Sarah Hollis

ONE MAN DIES A MILLION TIMES (Jessica Oreck, 2019, DCP, 93 mins)




“A true story, set in the future. About seeds and genetic diversity, about growth and decay, about love and war, about hunger of all kinds. About what it means to be human, even when all your humanity is stripped away.” --Myriapod Productions

Both historical document and speculative fiction, ONE MAN DIES A MILLION TIMES dramatizes the struggle of Russian botanists safeguarding an invaluable collection of seeds despite bleak conditions in a city besieged by war. The film follows Alyssa and Maksim, two young botanists with a budding connection who work at the Institute of Plant Genetic Resources, the world’s first seedbank, which still stands in current day St. Petersburg, as they commit themselves to tending seeds meant to sustain future populations while contending with the present reality of mass starvation. 

Emerging from a process of historical research, artistic imagination, and botanical concern, filmmaker Jessica Oreck draws the narrative for ONE MAN from the diaries of seedbank workers living in the Siege of Leningrad (1941–1944), a harrowing period from the past that is transmuted into a near-future tense with timeless and searing black-and-white imagery from acclaimed cinematographer Sean Price Williams. ONE MAN DIES A MILLION TIMES is a mesmerizing rumination on the purpose of seed banks and food security in a struggling world, the sacrifice of individuals working toward futurity, and the glimmers of resilience found in humanity’s darkest moments.

Introduction by Sarah Hollis (Dixon National Tallgrass Prairie Seedbank and Northwestern University)


Sarah Hollis is a research assistant at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Dixon National Tallgrass Prairie Seed Bank. She is passionate about connecting people with the environment by fostering relationships with seeds. Sarah is earning her M.S. in Plant Biology and Conservation at Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden. Her research interests include conservation and restoration seed bank infrastructure and best practices and BIPOC traditional ecological knowledge in restoration.



This event is part of the SEED TIME film series, a selection of films screening in Winter and Spring quarter 2024.

Supported by the Sloan Foundation and the Coolidge Corner Cinema’s Science on Screen program, each of the screenings in the series invites viewers to observe poet William Blake’s proverb, “in seed time, learn,” through informative introductions and discussions with scientists, filmmakers, researchers, and archivists involved in cultivating and preserving seeds and films alike.

An initiative of the COOLIDGE CORNER THEATRE, with major support from the ALFRED P. SLOAN FOUNDATION.

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at