Monday, March 14, 2011
Last Wed. was the premier of "Just One More Day" at the Kremple's Center-a non-profit brain injury foundation located in Portsmouth, N.H. It was a homecoming of sorts with all the trepidation associated with returning home after a long absence with the added anxiety of not knowing how our film would be received. For years I would bring various clients there three days a week and became good friends with many of the members and staff. I couldn't believe that someone was actually pay me for doing this work. Jackie Mike was still there happily spinning around in her wheelchair full of life-takes more than a bullet to the head from a drunken boyfriend to slow that lady down or take away her love of life. I looked at old friends and remembered their stories. I had hugged them them, held them, felt their warm tears on my shoulder, learned from them and now I wondered what they would think of the film I produced. Because their opinion was the only opinion that mattered--nine months work on the line and I would know the verdict in 66 minutes. We gathered in the movie room--members, staff, University of New Hampshire interns who do a semester there s part of their education and then there was Gus, the filmmaker,his girlfriend and his father. I sat way in the back with my therapist friend who was the main interviewer on the film. The lights dimmed. The documentary opens with three young TBI victims telling their stories of suicide attempts filmed live during an hour long broadcast of "Don't Dis My Ability". It is interspersed with subsequent footage of two of the young men and their mothers. Those two segments were designed to show the effect of suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts on family members. I remembered trembling all over when we filmed these segments. We sandwiched these segments around a funny and touching segment of a young lady and man who are as close as two people can be. Her brain injury, the result of being run over by a drunk driver, took away her ability to speak clearly. She uses an electronic communicator. Her story of two devastating brain injuries is simply incredible. The last segment features our radio engineer who is about my age. We wanted to show that people of all ages can fall into the dark pit of suicide. He is a survivor of spinal cancer. I am most affected by this segment and get emotional every time I see it. The audience laughed and cried and cheered at the end. I put my arms around a young lady afterward who could not stop crying. After lunch we all gathered back in the movie room with a question and answer period that included the participants of the film and the filmmaker. I looked over from my chair in the front of the room at a lady I knew for years. Her caregiver had her arm around her shoulder, As long as a I have known her, she has never been able express a moment of emotion. She would be led here and there and would sit impassively like someone who had escaped from the wax museum. Silent tears were running down her cheeks. The members and staff began opening up about what they called a taboo subject and I knew we had done our job. The film ends with each participants dedication. Mine included an old photo of my brother and I standing in front of the Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette, Ill. I had dedicated my contribution to my brother who took his life several years ago. Contact me if you would like to purchase a copy of the film.