Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Film Screening

I received an email today asking if I would share this information regarding a film that Jennifer Brea made called, Unrest. Below are the links and a synopsis of the film

Synopsis:
Jennifer Brea is an active Harvard PhD student about to marry the love of her life when suddenly her body starts failing her. Hoping to shed light on her strange symptoms, Jennifer grabs a camera and films the darkest moments unfolding before her eyes as she is derailed by M.E. (commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), a mysterious illness some still believe is “all in your head.”

In this story of love and loss, newlyweds Jennifer and Omar search for answers as they face unexpected obstacles with great heart. Often confined by her illness to the private space of her bed, Jen is moved to connect with others around the globe. Utilizing Skype and social media, she unlocks a forgotten community with intimate portraits of four other families suffering similarly. Jennifer Brea’s wonderfully honest portrayal asks us to rethink the stigma around an illness that affects millions of people. Unrest is a vulnerable and eloquent personal documentary that is sure to hit closer to home than many could imagine.

How to watch Unrest online: https://www.unrest.film/ digital
How to find a screening of Unrest near you: https://www.unrest.film/ screenings
Unrest images & media: https://www.unrest.film/media/

  • “Astonishing”– BBC
  • “Brilliant” – The Daily Telegraph
  • “Riveting…equal parts medical mystery, science lesson, political advocacy primer and even a love story.” — San Francisco Chronicle
  • “Remarkably intimate, deeply edifying and a stirring call to action…an existential exploration of the meaning of life.” — LA Times
  • ★★★★★ “A sensitive, powerful documentary” that’s “compulsive viewing.” — BritFlicks
  • “An intimate essay” that even feels like “a suspenseful thriller” and “packs a significant emotional punch.” — The Spectator
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Ready for the Pitch

After ten months of research, phone calls, and email exchanges with producers, meetings with screenwriters, taking classes, writing, rewriting, and rewriting again, my collaborating partner and I have completed our project. It has been read, and given a thumbs up from our beta-readers, and is currently being edited.  We will be ready with a final version by the end of this month.

I’m experiencing a myriad of emotions, running the gamut between elation and fear. I’m  proud of our work and feel ready to release it to the world. At the same time, releasing your creative works out into the world is an extremely vulnerable experience.

I have tried and been fairly successful with staying in a beginners mind when it came to writing, publishing, and marketing my books. Especially with Untangled. Not only because it’s my memoir, but because I understood the gratitude I would feel each time someone purchased the book and read it.

That same beginner’s mind is the attitude we are taking for our next step; The Pitch. My partner and I have an attitude of openness, eagerness, staying full of curiosity and wonder as we continue to make contacts and set up meetings. Will it be a lot of work? I hope so! This passionate project has already been a lot of work. We are committed to sharing the message that no matter what happens to a person (a real-life person), even if they live with sometimes debilitating PTSD, they can not only survive but with help can thrive.  There is no sugar coating in our movie, but there is a resiliency and stubborn hopefulness that leaves the audience feeling resolved after a wild and thrilling ride.

We will continue to try to stay in our beginner’s mind as we pitch this project. We have wrapped up the writing a treatment phase, and now it’s the just the beginning!

Look for it on a screen near you…it’s going to happen…why not?

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image source: Pexels

Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

 

Pitching a Movie Idea with a Beginners Mind

Beginners Mind refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, staying full of curiosity and wonder.

I have tried and been fairly successful with staying in a beginners mind when it came to writing, publishing, and marketing my books. Especially with Untangled. Not only because it’s my memoir, but because I understood the gratitude I would feel each time someone purchased the book and read it. It’s been sixteen months since Untangled has been published. Not only do I feel gratitude at the way the book has grown legs, but I feel extremely humbled by the feedback I receive from readers. My hope is that the book continues to reach more people every day.

When I decided to self-publish Untangled, it was because I wanted control of the voice in my book, I wanted all the rights and I wasn’t willing to bend on any of that. I worked closely with my editor to make sure that happened, contentious moments sometimes spent over a word. My editor was doing her job, and I was stubborn, but also learned that part of this process is to be flexible and listen. I read, went to workshops, consulted with experts on what is the best way to market my book and what platform I should use to publish it. I listened to many ideas, and let go of the one’s didn’t resonate with me. With each statement of how hard it is to get a book into readers hands, I simply said, “why wouldn’t people want to read this book?” I kept an attitude of openness, I was eager to market the book in a way that I could handle and to this day I am in wonder at how well it sells.

For the past five months, my collaborating partner and I have worked on a (treatment? pitch? screenplay outline?) for a movie loosely based on Untangled. It keeps the heart of the book, we see her dealing with, living, surviving and trying to thrive with her PTSD, but the movie form is an intense thriller taking place across both the United States and many parts of the world. It’s different, exciting and of course, has a great ending.

We have been extremely fortunate that people have taken an interest in our movie. We have had two meetings and will have another one today. We have been lucky that people have been willing to say, I know the assistant to the person (who produces all the ____ movies). Maybe, that assistant will talk to his boss, maybe not. What matters to us, is that people have taken an active interest and continued to cheer us on, as we worked diligently to create something interesting, exciting and inspirational.

Yesterday, driving home from a meeting, after hearing the business side of movie making, next steps to take, and the prohibitive costs of having something to pitch, it could have been a sobering, throw in the towel experience.  My partner looked at me, and said,” We are so lucky that we have a beginners mind. We can do this, there are a lot of ways to go about this, we aren’t in the business and haven’t been jaded, and we aren’t afraid to hear, no.” We have a great concept, a great detailed movie outline; literally, someone can read our 50 pages, plus the character outline and see the movie come to life. Someone will say yes, and someone will option to make this film.

My partner and I have an attitude of openness, eagerness, staying full of curiosity and wonder as we continue to try and make contacts. Will it be a lot of work? I hope so! This passionate project has already been a lot of work, and we are committed to sharing the message that no matter what happens to a person (a real-life person), even if they live with sometimes debilitating PTSD, they can get help, and have a life. There is no sugar coating in our movie, but just like Alexis in real life, there is a resiliency and stubborn hopefulness that leaves the audience feeling resolved after a wild and thrilling ride.

We will continue to try to stay in our Beginners Mind as we pitch this movie. Look for it on a screen near you…it’s going to happen…why not?

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Featured Image -- 1269Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

http://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph/dp/1514213222

https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph-ebook/dp/B013XA4856