"Going the Distance: Journeys of Recovery" is a documentary film directed by David Brown.
An incredible inspirational feature film about the survivors of traumatic brain injuries. Director David Brown takes the viewer through the process of recovery for the survivors and their families. The film is a favorite of the judges for it's detailed editing, music and diversity in each one of the four stories.
- Film Name: "Going the Distance: Journeys of Recovery"
- Director: David L. Brown
- Editors: Steven Baigel, Tal Skloot & Marta Wohl
- Produced, directed and photographed by David L. Brown
- Edited by David L. Brown, Marta Wohl, Steven Baigel, Tal Skloot
- Executive Producer: Rob Howard
- Music by Steven Cravis, John Keltonic and Jaime Kibben
- Colorist: Gary Coates; On-Line Edit: Jesse Spencer
- Sound Design & Mix: Paul Zahnley, Disher Music & Sound
- Runtime: 60 Minutes
- Screening: Saturday, November 11th, 2017
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- Tagline: "Going the Distance: Journeys of Recovery" is an inspirational hour-long character-driven documentary in which four survivors take us inside the experience of traumatic brain injury (TBI) to reveal their personal stories of devastation, heroism and hope. Weaving cinema vérité scenes, interviews, home movies and archival footage, Going the Distance explores the physical, emotional and economic challenges of TBI and disability for these survivors as they reinvent themselves.
'Going the Distance: Journeys of Recovery' is a hour-long character-driven documentary exploring the dramatic but little understood phenomenon of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Called 'the Silent Epidemic,' TBI impacts 2.5 million Americans and costs American society $60 billion every year. 'Going the Distance' focuses an intimate lens on the daunting, inspiring journeys of four TBI survivors and the people who love and care for them. The film’s profiles in courage include: Jason Poole, an African-American Iraq War vet nearly killed by a roadside bomb; Kristen Collins, a nurse who was badly injured in a motorcycle accident; Jay Waller, a Yale graduate who was the victim of a savage road-rage beating; and Ian McFarland, a six-year-old who survived the auto accident that made him an orphan.
For Jason, Jay, Kristen and Ian, 'Going the Distance' involves both acceptance of an impaired new self as well as learning to adapt to the changed person they have become. Although the individual stories and circumstances are unique, the dilemmas they face are universal and profoundly human, impacting that part of ourselves, the brain, that informs who we are and governs our personality, thoughts, feelings and perceptions. An injury to the brain is an injury to the essential self, which is why Kristen explains that she and all TBI survivors “have to reinvent who they are.” Interweaving cinema vérité scenes, interviews, home movies and stock news footage, 'Going the Distance' explores the physical, emotional and economic challenges of traumatic brain injury and disability for these survivors as they reinvent themselves.
The documentary also explores the parallel journeys of family members and friends whose lives are dramatically altered by TBI: most are totally unprepared to deal with a TBI survivor, and “caregiver burnout” is a huge and unacknowledged problem. The film features interviews with the characters’ professional caregivers, including physicians, psychologists and therapists, who provide enough scientific, medical and policy information to orient the viewer without resorting to abstract terminology or overwhelming the film with data.
Framing its individual stories within the broader social context of an embattled health care system and a nation coping the costs of the War on Terror, 'Going the Distance' paints a complex and compelling portrait of TBI survivors, their loved ones and communities. In spite of undeniable and enduring hardship, including life-long cognitive and emotional challenges, each protagonist has an inspiring recovery arc in which he or she regains a significant measure of his or her pre-injury dream and envisions a new life path. Their heroic efforts model the universal struggle to shape our destinies, and, in their example, we may find a reflection of our best selves.
Called 'the Silent Epidemic,' TBI impacts 2.5 million Americans and costs American society $60 billion every year.
David Brown Interview:
We had an opportunity to catch up with director David Brown for a short interview about the "Going the Distance: Journeys of Recovery" film's back story.
- Why did you think that the Oregon Documentary Film Festival was a good place to submit and screen your film? “I knew there was a sizable documentary audience in Oregon. And the organizers had experience producing another festival.”
- Why did you choose to tell this particular story? “I was commissioned to produce the first two-day shoot, a 24-mile cross Lake Tahoe standup paddle, a benefit for the Bob Woodruff Foundation. There I met several survivors of traumatic brain injury and was galvanized to make the film on their inspirational stories.”
- Did you discover certain story elements during the production of this film that you never expected to find in the planning stages of this project? “Yes, I discovered three of our four survivors after launching the project. Their stories, along with their families, were extraordinary and deeply inspiring.”
- What camera(s) did you use to during the production of this film? Discuss any advantages or limitations that you may have run into, from an equipment perspective. “I used a Sony EX1 then a Sony PMX200.”
- How did you fund this film? Did you use crowd funding? Do you have pressure to recoup the production costs somehow? “Foundations, private donors, along with an IndieGoGo campaign. Producers cash help with the completion.”
- What kind of audience reaction are you getting to this film? Discuss any Positives or Negatives that you feel comfortable talking about. “Very positive from many works-in-progress screenings. The only caveat from the brain injury community was that our survivors were relatively fortunate and don't fully represent the typical TBI survivors.”
- Do you have plans for a sequel or future film that you are working on? Please discuss.
no sequel. “Other projects are underway. The main doc is on a Latino poet activist and the roles of activist writers.”
- You have completed a documentary film, which is a huge achievement. Do you have any advice for a future filmmaker that is about to start a documentary project? Advice that you wish you had been given before you started yours? “Build and sustain trust, hire the best pros you can, be patient with fundraising, surround yourself with a community of like-minded filmmakers for support.”