Real Talkies

Real Talkies

Every cut is a lie. It’s never that way. Those two shots were never next to each other in time that way. But you’re telling a lie in order to tell the truth. –Wolf Koenig.

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June 12, 2011 , , , , , , , , , ,

The Edge of Things Synopsis : The Edge of Things is documentary about Lucille, a woman living with an acquired traumatic brain injury. The film follows her daily experiences and perceptions of life: Her thoughts and desires, which, in their pureness and urgency somehow embody our global human song, in all of its wonder and lament, its beauty and imperfection, and its fierce courage to go on. To carry on Lucille’s life reflects the very nature of nature: That which we cannot escape– the sudden occurrences that happen out of nowhere, changing us forever.

Leading Causes of TBI (2002-2006). Source: CDC

According to the CDC (centers for disease control), Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States and on average, approximately 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury annually.  A TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild,” i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to “severe,” i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. A little over 6 months ago, Gabrielle Gifford was shot in Tuscan Arizona. She sustained critical injuries to her brain. Weeks following that, I have had numerous conversations with people who truly believed that she would recover completely and be back to her old self.

According to Pia Caruson (Giffords’ Chief of Staff), Giffords remains a shadow of her former self as she has difficulty stringing together sentences and relies heavily on gestures and facial expressions to communicate. She also faces some difficulty in expressing bigger, more complex thoughts. While Giffords will soon be released from intensive inpatient therapy, she must undergo outpatient therapy for years and her recovery may plateau at any point along this journey.

National TBI Estimates. *The number of people with TBI who are not seen in an emergency department or who receive no care is unknown. Source: CDC

Giffords is fortunate to have both the medical and social support that this long arduous journey of rediscovering self absolutely needs. She will surely come out of it as a changed person needing help for several things in her life and a true advocate for others but not as the former Gabrielle Giffords. The journey is particularly hard for those with minimal or no medical support. It is even harder for family, friends and support network who wait patiently for the slow, small amplitude improvements to accumulate. BRAIN INJURY DIALOGUES is another documentary that explores this journey.


BRAIN INJURY DIALOGUE – Synopsis: Though he appears normal, Rick Franklin’s brain injury has made his life anything but.Teaming up with veteran documentary maker and friend Lyell Davies, Rick explores the impact that brain injury has had on himself and other survivors. As they visit with brain injury survivors, invisible aspects of this disability become more clear; we see the wide range of deficits that survivors must face, both physically and mentally, and learn how no two brain injuries are alike. We also hear how survivors learn to deal with life after a brain injury by means of personal, medical, and even political strategies.

According to the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, there are 5.3 million Americans living with a disability as a result of Traumatic Brain Injury. These individuals and their families experience profound changes in their daily lives as a result of TBI. The financial demands that result from such a catastrophic injury, the loss of earnings and earning capacity, need for continued medical and rehabilitative support can and has made many homeless. Marwencol is a story of Mark Hogancamp, who created his own long term therapy to cope and heal himself.

Marwencol Synopsis: “Marwencol” is a documentary about the fantasy world of Mark Hogancamp.After being beaten into a brain-damaging coma by five men outside a bar, Mark builds a 1/6th scale World War II-era town in his backyard. Mark populates the town he dubs “Marwencol” with dolls representing his friends and family and creates life-like photographs detailing the town’s many relationships and dramas. Playing in the town and photographing the action helps Mark to recover his hand-eye coordination and deal with the psychic wounds of the attack. When Mark and his photographs are discovered, a prestigious New York gallery sets up an art show. Suddenly Mark’s homemade therapy is deemed “art”, forcing him to choose between the safety of his fantasy life in Marwencol and the real world that he’s avoided since the attack.

“Brain injury can last a lifetime, but it doesn’t have to cost a lifetime.”…Anonymous person with TBI. Source: Brain Injury Association of America.

Brain injury has unpredictable consequences. It affects everything about us – who we are, the way we think, act, feel and move. We wish Gabrielle Giffords and the numerous people with TBI and their caregivers strength, energy and resources for their rehabilitation.


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