Tag Archives for " Feature Film "

4 weeks ago

Festival Recap

Oregon Documentary Film Festival 2017 Event Photos Session 1411

Festival Recap: Oregon Documentary Film Festival 2017

I would like to say 'thank you' to all of the attendees, filmmakers and supporters of the very first Oregon Documentary Film Festival and write a brief festival recap. Fifteen short and feature length documentary films from all over the world were screened at this two-day event. With over two hundred and fifty total ticket purchases and attendees combined, the event was more successful than we ever dreamed, in our first year.

Veterans (Right), Clay Kempf (Right)

Festival Recap: The Awards

We kicked things off on Veterans Day, Friday November 10th, 2017 and screened 'Stu Steinberg,' a film about US Military Veterans with a call-to-action to offer better and more efficient medical support for those that have served in combat. Director Clay Kempf's film was voted "Best Feature Film" by the judges and Stu Steinberg himself was on hand for the screening with several veterans from the film.

Oregon Documentary Film Festival 2017Awards List:

  1. Best Feature Film "Stu Steinberg" Directed by Clay Kempf
  2. Best Oregon Film "Perception: Prison to Purpose" Directed by Jonathan Reed
  3. Best Directors (Feature Film): Lindsey Averill and Viridiana Lieberman
  4. Best Directors (Short Film): The Mustached American of the Year" Directed by Anna Yeager and Peter Subaiya
  5. Best Short Film: The Mustached American of the Year" Directed by Anna Yeager and Peter Subaiya
  6. Best Cinematography: "SOS: The Salton Sea Walk" Directed by Corbin Schweitzer
  7. Best Cinematography (Short Film): "Song in a Day" Directed by Kris Jones
  8. Best Editing: "Human Zoos Directed by John West
  9. Best Original Music: "Sisterly" Composer André Barros
  10. Most Inspirational Film: "Going the Distance: Journeys of Recovery" Directed by David L. Brown

Jeffrey Janoff (Left), Will Cuddy (Left Middle), Mikel Fair (Right Middle), Jordan Smith (Right)

Tony Rivas (Left), Jonathan Reed (Middle), Will Cuddy (Right)

last month

“Ghosts of our Forest” Directed by Daniel Roher

"Ghosts of Our Forest" is a documentary film directed by Daniel Roher.

Daniel Roher's "Ghosts of Our Forest" introduces the viewer to the musical and culturally rich, Batwa tribe. This documentary touched and inspired our judges.

  • Film Name: "Ghosts of Our Forest" 
  • Director: Daniel Roher
  • Director of Photography: Marianna Margaret
  • Composer: Richard Jay
  • Runtime: 65 Minutes
  • Screening: Saturday, November 11th, 2017
  • Website | Facebook | Instagram
  • Tagline: "After an indigenous Ugandan tribe is violently removed from its forest home, the survivors are left to reconcile with the ghosts of their ancestors as they struggle to maintain their cultural identity."

Oregon Documentary Film Festival Judges Review

Review: "A touching story about an African tribe that lost their home overnight and how they are trying to survive in today's world. You really feel for the children in this story and wonder how what their lives will be like in the future. The film features vivid images, great music and a story by Daniel Roher that unfolds in an hour, but feels like fifteen minutes."

"Ghosts of Our Forest" Directed by Daniel Roher
"Ghosts of Our Forest" Director Daniel Roher

"the indigenous Batwa tribe was forcefully removed from their ancestral home by the Ugandan government."

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"Ghosts of Our Forest" Directed by Daniel Roher

Ghosts of Our Forest: Synopsis

In 1992, as pressure from international conservation groups to protect the great forests of Uganda mounted and the indigenous Batwa tribe was forcefully removed from their ancestral home by the Ugandan government. One of the most ecologically diverse places on earth, the Bwindi impenetrable forest nurtured the Batwa, and in turn the tribe worshiped all that it gave them. Upon eviction, however, the Batwa received nothing in the way of compensation or support, and so fell into poverty.

Nearly 25 years later ...

A young Batwa named Gad Semejeri is doing everything he can to preserve his culture in the face of social oppression and substance abuse. Along with a group of young Batwa, he founded the Batwa Music Club, a band that strives to reclaim its cultural heritage by performing traditional songs that speak out against the injustices the the tribe has suffered.

With Gad’s leadership, the group is rehearsing for its biggest gig to date, a concert in Kampala where they will take centre stage and make the plight of the Batwa known to the whole of Uganda.

In today's world ...

The young Batwa are threading together rapturous tales of traditional life and stories from Batwa elders. The Batwa Music Club struggles for survival on a daily basis and is still performing original music. Ipalaki is an inspiration and vibrant testament to the importance of indigenous knowledge in the globalized world.

"Ghosts of Our Forest" Directed by Daniel Roher
last month

“Fattitude” Directed by Lindsey Averill and Viridiana Lieberman

"Fattitude" is a documentary film directed by Lindsey Averill and Viridiana Lieberman

Fattitude exposes the hollywood and media bias towards overweight people. The directors expose the bias and empower people of all body types with a great message. The judges loved this film and feel like it's a wake-up call for western society.

  • Film Name: "Fattitude" 
  • Directors: Lindsey Averill and Viridiana Lieberman
  • Director of Photography: Viridiana Lieberman
  • Runtime: 88 Minutes
  • Screening: Friday, November 10th, 2017
  • Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
  • Tagline: "Fattitude is a feature length documentary that exposes how media culture encourages weight bias. The film offers alternative ways of thinking that embrace body acceptance at all sizes."

"Fattitude" Film Synopsis:

Fattitude is a feature length documentary that exposes how culture – particularly media culture - encourages weight bias and then offers alternative ways of thinking that embrace body acceptance at all sizes. Informed by a post-modern, post-colonial, feminist background, Fattitude is very conscious and attentive to the idea that fat hatred crosses the lines of race, class, sexuality and gender.

"Fattitude" Directors Lindsey Averill and Viridiana Lieberman

"Fattitude" Film Contributors:

The film features a diverse variety of voices such as academic scholars and activists. Hollywood directors and writers, as well as, psychologists. Rebecca Phul, Jackson Katz, Marilyn Wann and Sonya Renee Taylor present their views. Virgie Tovar, Jen Posner, Lindy West, Ricki Lake, Winne Holzman, Guy Branum, Tess Munster and Andrew Walen include their testimonials as well.

"Fattitude is a conscious the idea that fat hatred crosses the lines of race, class, sexuality and gender."

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"Fattitude" Directed by Lindsey Averill and Viridiana Lieberman

The story behind the story.

We had an opportunity to catch up with director Lindsey Averill for a short interview about the "Fattitude" film's back story. 

  1. Why did you think that the Oregon Documentary Film Festival was a good place to submit and screen your film? “Fattitude has a large fan base in Portland. We were hoping to have a screening that would provide access to our film for those people. The Oregon documentary film festival shows interest in socially conscious films so it seemed like a good fit.”
  2. What is the title of your film and is there any special meaning to the title? “Fattitude is a single word that encompasses the righteous indignation and radical cultural revolution required to end weight bias.”
  3. Why did you choose to tell this particular story? “Personal experience, kismet, and it was something that just happened.”
  4. 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? “Oh god yes. There were moments when we were filming that blew our minds. Filming "Fattitude" was not just about making a movie is was also the journey to self love for both Viri and I.”
  5. Did anything happen during the production of this film that was very interesting, but never made it on camera? “We have over 100 hours of footage. There are so many darlings, incredible nuggets of information that we just couldn't include.”
  6. How did you fund this film? Did you use crowd funding? Do you have pressure to recoup the production costs somehow? “We used Kickstarter and donations. We are a total passion project.”
  7. What kind of audience reaction are you getting to this film? Discuss any Positives or Negatives that you feel comfortable talking about. “We've gotten both death threats and love letters. One of my favorite love letter came from a woman in her sixties who watched our trailer. She felt it was the first time in her life that she was given permission to stop hating herself.”
  8. Do you have plans for a sequel or future film that you are working on? Please discuss. “We talk about tackling ageism and the media, but it's still a pretty vague idea.”
  9. 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? “Recognize that your timeline for production may be longer than you think. A documentary is a labor of love that will take all of your heart. It is a financial mountain and will require constant fundraising. Which can take a lot longer than expected.”
"Fattitude" Directors Lindsey Averill and Viridiana Lieberman
last month

“SOS: The Salton Sea Walk” Directed by Corbin Schweitzer

"SOS: The Salton Sea Walk" is a documentary film directed by Corbin Schweitzer.

What drives someone to say, "this morning I'm going on a Salton Sea Walk and I won't stop for three years?" Director Corbin Schweitzer does a great job with telling the story of this environmental crisis. The disappearance of the Salton Sea could be catastrophic to the environment and Randy Brown's movement is worthy of attention.

  • Film Name: "SOS: The Salton Sea Walk" 
  • Director and Cinematographer: Corbin Schweitzer
  • Co-Producer: Blake Alexander
  • Associate Producers: Giovanni Arechavaleta and Kerry Morrison
  • Editor: James Semivan
  • Assistant Camera: Taylor Bennett
  • Composer: Colton Schweitzer
  • Runtime: 61 Minutes
  • Screening: Saturday, November 11th, 2017
  • Website | Facebook | IMDb
  • Tagline: "California’s largest lake approaches an environmental point of no return. One man will attempt to become the first person to walk around its hazardous shoreline. Could this film prevent an ecologic disaster that could impact the entire western hemisphere?"

Synopsis:

The Salton Sea, California's largest lake, is rapidly drying up. After 2017, the largest rural to urban water transfer will exponentially accelerate the rate at which the sea shrinks. This will expose acres of dried lakebed. The exposed playa, containing 100 years worth of farm chemicals, could become airborne. This could send billowing clouds of toxic dust towards major population centers in the Southwest. The Salton Sea is located 230 feet below sea-level. In this desolate pocket of Southern California's Colorado Desert, the plight of the sea is largely ignored.

"Randy Brown, set out to do something no one had ever attempted to walk the entire shoreline of the Salton Sea."

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Who will save the Salton Sea?

There are a few outspoken people who claim to know how to save it. Randy Brown, community activist, set out to do something no one had ever attempted. To walk the entire shoreline of the sea. In June of 2015, with temperatures reaching 120 degrees, he set out on his 6 day, 115 mile journey. His mission is to raise awareness for the sea. A forgotten place of peace and beauty. Will the people be inspired to save it before it's too late?

"SOS: The Salton Sea Walk" Director Corbin Schweitzer

The interview:

We had a chance to catch up with Director Corbin Schweitzer for a behind-the-scenes look at "The Salton Sea." 

  1. Why did you think that the Oregon Documentary Film Festival was a good place to submit and screen your film? “I was born in Portland and wanted to submit to my hometown.”
  2. What is the title of your film and is there any special meaning to the title? "SOS The Salton Sea Walk", and yes, there are multiple meanings. "SOS" both means help and in the film "Save Our Sea".
  3. Why did you choose to tell this particular story? “We felt it was a time-sensitive story that had horrific environmental and health implications should it continue to go unnoticed. It's impact would extend far beyond California's borders and ultimately could impact the entire western hemisphere.”
  4. 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? “Most certainly. When the project began, we believed there wasn't a viable solution in place and as such was a lost cause. As the project progressed however, we learned about the different solutions and numerous opportunities for the economy with renewable resources and emerging technologies that presented the viewer and public with a positive outlook toward the sea and its future.”
  5. 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. “We used a Canon 5D Mrk. II as our main camera, GoPros for our secondary cameras, and a Phantom series drone for our aerials. Since the Canon was the first generation of video-capable DSLRs, it was highly limited in its video capabilities and as such things such as stability, focus, and sound became an inherent issue throughout production. The advantage of using such small equipment was the portability and ease of use making shooting quick and easy.”
  6. Did anything happen during the production of this film that was very interesting, but never made it on camera? “Yes. During one filming adventure, we spent time in Mexico to determine the viability and prove the existence of the Coyote Canal (the main channel connecting the Sea of Cortez to the Laguna Salada). We learned that the Cucapa indian tribe owned the land that the canal was built upon and were excited about the possibility of working with the United States to restore both the Salada and the Salton Sea to their former glory. We stayed in the Cucapa tribe hometown and traveled to their native fishing grounds used for centuries by their ancestors. Unfortunately, we were unable to add this to the film in order to keep the story interesting and maintain a shorter running time.”
  7. How did you fund this film? Did you use crowd funding? Do you have pressure to recoup the production costs somehow? “It was entirely out of pocket. We only used Kickstarter after production in order to submit to festivals.”
  8. What kind of audience reaction are you getting to this film? Discuss any Positives or Negatives that you feel comfortable talking about. “This film has been received very positively by all audiences thus far. We feel that it's positive message combined with a straight-forward and interesting human-interest story, make it both fun to watch and highly informative.”
  9. Do you have plans for a sequel or future film that you are working on? Please discuss.
    “We do. Our plans for the future are to return to the Sea and bring to light it's current state of affairs through a story-driven narrative instead of another documentary. We believe a different perspective could help continue to raise awareness without repeating facts, figures, and issues. We also are planning on a separate documentary around the message highlighted at the beginning of the film: water; from the dwindling sources of freshwater, to the importance of what kind of water we drink.”
  10. 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? “Most definitely. Organize, organize, organize. Simply put, anytime you are shooting for your documentary, log and organize your footage immediately after your days end. Don't skip the "dailies" (or watching over the footage you captured at the end of the day). This will save you mountains of time and effort later in the editing stages. If you note ahead of time which clips are worth using and which should be thrown out, it'll be worth its weight in gold later on.”
"SOS: The Salton Sea Walk" Director Corbin Schweitzer

Director's Statement: Corbin Schweitzer

"Several years ago, I received a call about a community activist, Randy Brown. He was seeking to do what no man had attempted before and walk around the hazardous 116-mile shoreline of California’s Salton Sea. This began what would become a three year journey to document his story. Ultimately we hoped to bring to light an incredibly beautiful and forgotten piece of natural history. The Salton Sea has been left to evaporate and disappear. At the end of this year, the remaining flows of the Colorado river will be diverted to outlying cities and areas. This will leave the Salton Sea without a new source of water. This film seeks to raise awareness and prevent what could become one of the worst ecological disasters ever recorded."

"SOS: The Salton Sea Walk" Directed by Corbin Schweitzer
last month

“Human Zoos” Directed by John West

"Human Zoos" is a documentary film directed by John West.

John West explores a dark part of US history in "Human Zoos." A racially charged story that will mesmerize you with the stories and reality of a time where people were exploited in ways that are unimaginable in today in society. You have to see it to believe it and then wonder why they didn't teach you this chapter in history class.

  • Film Name: "Human Zoos" 
  • Director: Directed by John West
  • Cinematographer: Keith Pennock
  • Narrator: Andres Williams
  • Composer: Donnie Alan
  • Editor Rachel Adams
  • Runtime: 48 minutes and 34 seconds
  • Screening: Saturday, November 11th, 2017
  • Website | Evolution News & Science Article | IMDb Link | LinkedIn
  • Tagline: "Human Zoos tells the story of how thousands of indigenous peoples were put on public display in America in the early decades of the twentieth century."

Thousands of indigenous peoples were put on public display in America in the early decades of the twentieth century.

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Synopsis:

Often touted as “missing links” between man and apes, these native peoples were harassed, demeaned, and jeered at. Their public display was arranged with the enthusiastic support of the most elite members of the scientific community, and it was promoted uncritically by America’s leading newspapers. The documentary also tells the story of a courageous group of African-American ministers who tried to stop one such 'Human Zoo' in New York City. The documentary features Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Pamela Newkirk, author of Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga. 

In September 1906, nearly a quarter of a million people flocked to the Bronx Zoo in New York City. Many came for a startling new exhibit in the Zoo’s Monkey House. But it wasn’t a monkey they came to see. It was a man. His name was Ota Benga. A pygmy from the African Congo, Ota Benga was exhibited in a cage along with monkeys.

Benga was not alone. He was one of literally thousands of indigenous peoples who were put on public display throughout America in the early twentieth century. Often touted as “missing links” between man and apes and as examples of the “lower” stages of human evolution, these native peoples were harassed, demeaned, and jeered at. Their public display was arranged with the enthusiastic support of the most elite members of the scientific community, and it was promoted uncritically by America’s leading newspapers.

Human Zoos tells the horrifying story of this effort to dehumanize entire classes of people in the name of science. It will also tell the story of the courageous African-American ministers in New York City who tried to stop what was going on. Finally, the documentary will expose how some organizations are still trying to cover up their involvement in what happened and re-write the past.

The documentary featuresl interviews with a number of experts, including Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Pamela Newkirk, author of Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga.

"Human Zoos" Director John West

Interview with John West:

We had a chance to catch up with Director John West to get a behind-the-scenes look at this powerful documentary film, Human Zoos.

  1. Why did you think that the Oregon Documentary Film Festival was a good place to submit and screen your film? “I’m based in Seattle, and I was excited to learn about the debut of a film festival in the Pacific Northwest focusing on documentaries.”
  2. What is the title of your film and is there any special meaning to the title? “My film is titled “Human Zoos: America’s Forgotten History of Scientific Racism.” The title “Human Zoos” refers to the dehumanizing practice in American history of putting indigenous peoples on public display, sometimes in cages.”
  3. Why did you choose to tell this particular story? “Several years ago, I read a book about an African named Ota Benga who was put on public display in the Monkey House of the Bronx Zoo in the early 1900s. I later learned that there was a widespread practice in both the United States and Europe of putting indigenous peoples on public display, and that in many cases this practice was carried out and promoted not by hucksters but by leading members of America’s scientific community. I am fascinated by the use and abuse of scientific ideas in public policy, and I was interested not only in telling the story of what happened but also probing why so many members of the scientific community supported the practice. As I began to work on the story, I found that it had connections with the American eugenics movement, which was an effort to breed better humans by controlling the direction of human evolution, and so the documentary also delves into that story. There are also connections between what happened in the past and today’s white supremacists. One of the points I hoped to make in this film is that we don’t get beyond the past by forgetting it. We need to face it in order to make sure the same mistakes don’t happen again.”
  4. 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? “I was able to find a lot of fascinating material in the digitized archives of old newspapers, material that hadn’t been used before and that provided some insights into why people did what they did.”
  5. What kind of audience reaction are you getting to this film? Discuss any Positives or Negatives that you feel comfortable talking about. “My film will be having its public premiere at this film festival! Up to now, it has only had a few private screenings, the largest of which was around 90 people. The reactions at the private screenings have been positive, but somber. I think some people were shocked at what they learned. After the violence in Charlottesville, VA this past summer, I added a new ending to the film because I found a pretty explicit connection between the issues I was covering with some things being debated right now. Only one audience has seen the new ending, and I think it made some of the viewers uncomfortable to how the scientific racism of the past was rearing its ugly head in a new way today.”
  6. 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? “Especially if you are working on a limited budget (as I was), the more you can plan out in advance, the better. Also, learning to think visually is important when writing a script. My background is as a former college professor and as someone with training in journalism. So I have more experience with the written word than with visuals. When I started learning how to make documentaries, I had to stretch myself to write for a medium where what you show visually (and how you show it) is just as important (sometimes more important) than the words you use. I also learned that you need to be as concise as possible. Wordiness doesn’t work well in the visual medium.”
"Human Zoos" Director John West
last month

“Perception: From Prison to Purpose” Directed by Jonathan Reed

Prison: Perception to Purpose Poster Film by Jonathan Reed
Jonathan Reed Perception From Prison to Purpose Oregon Documentary Film Festival 2017 Screenshot 03
"Perception From Prison to Purpose" Oregon Documentary Film Festival

Watch the transformation of Noah Schultz

On April 14th, 2009, Noah Schultz was arrested for attempted murder in Portland, Oregon. This is the story of his transformation. During his seven years of incarceration, Noah took advantage of every program, workshop and educational service provided. He pushed himself not only to be better, but to challenge our perceptions of what it means to be an inmate

Prison: Perception to Purpose Poster Film by Jonathan Reed

From gang member and drug dealer, to college grad, author, and TEDx speaker, Noah's determination and spirit have launched him to success. Since his release in October of 2016, he continues to advocate for programs in youth correctional facilities, and has inspired countless other inmates to follow similar paths. Noah hopes to achieve reform not only in our prison systems but also in our nation's widespread views of how we perceive inmates and ex-cons. Noah's story is unique, but it doesn't have to be.

last month

“Going the Distance: Journeys of Recovery” Directed by David Brown

Going the Distance: Journeys of Recovery

"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
  • Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook
  • 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 Collage 02

Synopsis:

'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.

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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. 

  1. 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.”
  2. 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.”
  3. 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.”
  4. 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.”
  5. 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.”
  6. 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.”
  7. 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.”
  8. 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.”
"Going the Distance: Journeys of Recovery" Director David Brown
Going the Distance Journeys of Recovery Screenshot 02a