Documentary Update

About 10 years ago, after making several narrative feature films, we decided to give documentary filmmaking a try. Now we’re pretty sick of documentary filmmaking and want to jump back into narrative. Through the making of Donor 67, we met Alana Sveta. We are currently working with her on the script called “Adam and Eva”. In the meantime we are working to finish:

Battle of Brooklyn: We are in the final phases of editing this film about Daniel Goldstein’s fight to save his home, and his community, from being seized for a developer. After 6.5 years of shooting and over a year of solid editing the end is in sight. Daniel has been forced to move out of his home on May 7th.

Broken Angel Rising: We shot for two years as artist Arthur Wood fought to save his home from destruction by the NYC department of buildings. Due to all kinds of litigation, Arthur no longer wanted us to film. We had begun the process of cutting but have put the film on hold until the situation is resolved. We have an incredible amount of respect for Arthur and hope that we can one day finish this film.

Donor 67: This film is as much a mediation on the nature of family, childhood, parenthood, as it is about donor issues. Three months before our second daughter was born my father was hit by a car and killed. I started to work on something about his passing to help me work through my feelings and then we had our second child. When she was a couple of months old a friend of mine suggested that I had to “go for a boy”. I was immediately reminded of the fact that as a former sperm donor, I might have dozens. I started to explore the realities of that world. In the last few years i have done a great deal of writing and a little bit of filming. I have also applied for countless grants. I’m considering a Kickstarter campaign to raise a little money to get it going.

Dr. Sarno; Battling Pain:
For years I have struggled with intermittent sciatica pain. When my younger daughter was about 2 years old the pain got out of control. It was so severe that my nerve went dead and I lost the ability to use my calf muscle. I was on the path to surgery when I finally went to visit Dr. Sarno.

I knew about Dr. Sarno because my father had read his books in the 80’s and my brother had gone to see him in the 90’s. Both had been helped by him. According to Dr. Sarno the vast majority of back pain is based on psychological factors rather than structural issues. When he began practicing medicine in the 50’s there was no such thing as chronic back pain. Slowly he saw the rise of an epidemic and felt powerless when treating patients. The conventional methods didn’t work- but he found that talking to his patients did. He quickly found that in almost every case patients were struggling with a stressful situation- a young child, a divorce, terrible work situation, etc. He found that once the patient was able to make a connection between the pain and the situation they were able to overcome the pain. Over the years he’s developed a highly structured treatment program that relies on information and peer support.

When I visited Dr. Sarno with MRI in hand he scoffed at the pictures and gave me the information I needed to overcome the pain. A few weeks later, while on my road to recovery I approached him about allowing us to shoot a documentary with him. After watching our film Horns and Halos, he agreed. I shot a little bit over the next several months, but there several issues that have thrown up stumbling blocks.

Dr. Sarno is incredibly protective of his patients and wouldn’t allow us access to them. Due to my unyielding respect for him I found it hard to challenge him on this idea. We tried to scare up some other patients but it was difficult. In the meantime we applied for several grants without success. We are working on cutting a trailer with some of the footage that we have.

This is the one that just kills me that we can’t get done. I feel like this film could change the health care debate. I’ve been thinking about him a lot recently because for the first time in years my back is in good shape and I have finally gotten the strength back in my leg.

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