Dear Brandon

Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Documentary, Adventure

Krystina Christiansen

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $24,990 for post-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

47 supporters | followers

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At the end of his life and now paralyzed by MS, an adventurer reflects on his life's lessons in a letter that is left on a hiking trail in Utah. Finding it 3,000 miles away, a filmmaker befriends him and his newfound family of strangers that have brought his letter to peaks around the world.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

Our mission is to fulfill Brandon's wishes of sharing his letter with as many people as possible. The appreciation he had for life and love of the outdoors resonated with the hundreds of people who found and brought it to trails around the world. This film is a reminder of the power of love.

The Story

While hiking in Hawaii, I found a piece of paper tucked under a rock with a note that said, "Please Read Me." It opened with:

"Hi, my name is Brandon. I'm from Sandy, Utah. If you happen to be reading this letter, I want you to know I believe it is for a reason. I want to share my story with you."

Like many others, this letter and its author would then change my life.

Upon writing the letter, Brandon was in hospice - a quadriplegic living with late stage MS, a lot of love left to give, and not much time. The remainder of the letter was filled with his life's lessons, regrets, and a simple ask of whomever may find the letter: to be his arms and legs, and text him a photo of the view from the top.

As a former outdoor enthusiast, he wanted to reconnect with others in the outdoor community - people who understood and felt the healing power of nature. So, he asked his social worker, Brenna, to hike it up to her favorite trail in the area.

Finding it 3,000 miles away led me to believe that it was unlikely Brandon was still alive, but I sent a text and photo anyway. To my surprise, he responded.

It turns out the letter was written 8 months prior, had made its way around the world, and he was just as surprised as I was that he was still alive to see it. We became fast friends - something that happens when you're hyper aware of your own mortality. However, his health was declining, and over time we fell out of touch.

A few weeks later, I received a text from an unknown Utah number. Anticipating the news of his passing, I opened it. It was a link to an article.

Turns out there's something incredibly powerful about connection and community. So powerful, it can buy you time.

Over the next year, Brandon became one of my closest friends. Being a filmmaker, I couldn't get over the urge to capture this moment. It felt special and I was honored to be a part of it. A few months after meeting him I asked him if we could make a film together about the letter, the found family of strangers it has cultivated, and his death. He agreed.

I filmed a road trip from Los Angeles to Sandy, making pit stops along the way to leave his letter and interview different recipients about how they found the letter and were impacted by Brandon's story. I spoke with musicians Bri and Brandon, nudist climbers who found his letter in a rainforest; Ryan, who brought his letter to Everest; Brenna, the social worker who started it all; Lauren, who found the letter while in remission and committed to bringing Brandon a slice of pie week after week; Chris, who found the letter as he considered giving up on breaking a world record (he later broke it - thanks to Brandon); David, who "met" Brandon on Everest and brought him to Kilimanjaro; and George, a local Sandy man who found it on a trail while looking for a bowling ball. He never found the ball, but on his way down he did begrudgingly pick up a piece of trash that turned out to be Brandon's letter.

In the year that followed, I brought Brandon along with me on every trail and trip abroad. We had the letter translated in six languages.

The film serves as both a personal and collective response to Brandon's letter. With every intention to finish the project within a few months of completing the road trip, I was soon met with unexpected losses of my own. Wading through unrelenting grief of losing a mentor, colleague, friend, and my father back-to-back in the first half of 2022, I didn't have much to give to this project. So, we kept filming, documenting, and eventually addressing the very root of this story: grief.

Shortly after my dad died, Brandon did as well. It's my belief that this letter extended Brandon's life. When it was written, his skin was graying, and he was projected to last for a few weeks at best. Instead, he lived two years to the exact date that the first person responded.

The time I knew Brandon was abundant. It was filled with so many laughs, heartfelt conversations, and tearful goodbyes. He allowed hundreds of us in on his life in a time when he could have turned everyone away. He fulfilled his wish of giving the love he had left with those who needed it; who find solace in steep inclines and tricky terrains. To this day, his letter (now updated) and his ashes are spread all over the world, overlooking incredible vistas that he would have loved. To this day, people respond with gratitude.

It's time to take it a step further, for those who have yet (or may not be able) to find it under a rock with a written ask, "Please Read Me."

This is for Brandon.

To read the letter, visit


I've asked myself "why me" quite a bit since finding the letter. Brandon felt it was for a reason. Storytelling for me is a compulsion. Documenting the world around me and interviewing interesting people is something I've been doing since I was a child. Here's me, conducting my first interview in lieu of writing a paper. I remember being so excited.

As I got to know Brandon, I couldn't deny the incredible story unfolding in front of me and I documented it despite all of the internal self doubt narrative, "Just be in the moment. You don't have to film this. You can just live this." In hindsight I'm so glad I didn't listen to those voices. This project and this footage captured a unique moment in time for us all. Slowly coming out of quarantine, I don't know a single person that can't relate in some part to Brandon's story - while we may not know what it's like to have MS or be a quadriplegic, we do all know what it's like to feel disconnected and stuck inside. In the past year since Brandon's passing, I've taken the necessary time to grieve which has brought me to a place where I finally feel ready to give this project the attention, energy, and love it deserves.


We finished filming in February of this year in Sandy while celebrating Brandon's birthday, post mortem. There will be some additional pick up filming as we see fit while editing the film, but as of now we have wrapped picture and are in en route to post production!


This campaign will provide the capital needed to edit and complete this film to a standard acceptable by film festivals as early as winter 2023. That means it flows well, sounds good, and looks beautiful. That requires a team! As you may know, the entertainment industry is currently on strike for fair wages. Months into the strike, freelancers like myself, are starting to feel the impact of a slow year. Studio execs have admitted they're "waiting until we lose our homes". I want to make sure to compensate my team for their time and applied skillsets to this project as it is a challenging time. Additionally, this campaign will ensure we have access to software, hard drives, licensing, and can pay the festival submission fees.


Depending on your donation tier, there will be digital and/or in person screening events scheduled as early as late fall 2023. Once the film is complete and submitted to festivals, we will be hosting a private screening event for those who've donated $300 or more to the campaign in winter 2023-2024. Once the film is in the festival circuit, we will update contributors on any screenings happening around the US and internationally that are open to the public to purchase a ticket and attend. Upon completion within the film festival circuit, we will update all contributors on how they can get access to the film. Our projected release date will be in 2024.


If the project continues to surpass our $20,000 goal, we will use any additional funds towards applying to more film festivals and compensating any crew that has thus far worked on the project for a deferred rate. As mentioned above, the entertainment industry is in a standstill and many freelancers (ourselves included) have experienced a very slow year. We'd love to be able to thank our crew for standing in solidarity with the union strikes while also supporting our project with their valuable time, dedication, and energy. Our stretch goals are as follows:

STRETCH GOAL #1: $25,000 (an additional $2500 to compensate our composer and $2000 to compensate the editors assistant)

STRETCH GOAL #2: $27,500 (an additional $2500 to compensate our story producer)

STRETCH GOAL #3: $30,000 (an additional $2500 to put towards production costs of pick-up interview filming & other post production contingencies)


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Editor + Post Team

Costs $7,000

Editor is key! This will cover labor, software, hard drives, and a few days of edit bay rental.

Festival Submission, Distribution & Marketing

Costs $3,000

This will cover costs of submitting the doc to film festivals.

Color Grading

Costs $3,000

To give our film the best shot at being accepted into festivals, our colorist will ensure we're theater ready.

Sound Mixer

Costs $3,000

To ensure the film is accepted into festivals, we'll need a post sound mixer to ensure the film audio is high quality and ready for theaters

Animation & Graphics

Costs $8,000

To further enhance the stories Brandon shares on camera, we'd like to animate them to get out of his room and into his creative mind.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team


Krystina is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles, CA. She's produced, directed, and written feature and short docs, scripted shorts, music videos, proof of concepts for TV and film, web series, branded media, corporate videos, higher educational content, EPK's, art installations, live events, and commercials for China, India, South America, Europe, and US markets. Currently, she's in post production on her first feature documentary produced under the Appian Way and QC Entertainment banners, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Eli Roth as Executive Producers. When not immersed in storytelling she can most likely be found maintaining her duolingo streak, wandering a National Park, art gallery, in deep conversation with a stranger, or the nearest science museum.


Kate Oliva is an LA-based writer, director, producer, mother of four (furry beasts), and daughter of two (humans). She’s addicted to the outdoors, talks with her hands, and would love to see pictures of your pets. Over the last 13 years, her work has included documentaries (features, shorts, series), award-nominated web series, short films, branded & corporate content, and campaign spots for progressive female candidates. She’s worked with companies ranging from nonprofits and indie production studios to publicity firms and billion-dollar companies. The through line of her work is a focus on amplifying new and underserved voices, creating positive social impact, and finding humor in even the darkest of topics.


The reason we're all here. Brandon was involved with the documentary from day one, when we first put a pitch deck together in order to get story feedback and equipment rentals. He took the lead in coordinating all of the in person gatherings and interviews, took care of catering, all of it! He also got a chance to review footage, interviews, and give his insight on how the story would be shaped - as he should. He was a fantastic storyteller with an eye for humor, especially dark humor, which is a theme also explored in our film. He was so excited about this film and getting it to the finish line. Thanks to you, we will.

Current Team