‘Unrest’ – a documentary about ME/CFS is poised to reach millions and raise awareness like never before.
‘Unrest’ (formerly known as ‘Canary in a Coalmine’), the highly anticipated documentary film directed by Jennifer Brea, has received widespread praise and recognition. It premiered to the world at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and claimed the prestigious Special Jury Award in Editing for Documentary.
The ME/CFS community has been eagerly awaiting the release of this film since Brea started crowdfunding for it – raising very quickly an incredible $212,962 on Kickstarter in 2013. The grassroots support from inside and outside the community allowed her to recruit a world-class crew. Just look at the other IMDB credits for some of the cast and crew like Bear McCreary, the composer (The Walking Dead, Battlestar Galactica, anyone?), or Emiliano Battista and Kim Roberts, the film’s editors.
You can catch some snippets from this film in this clip from Sundance:
Our ‘Unrest’ is being exposed in a way it has never been before.
The film has been praised by mainstream media outlets and patients alike. People with ME/CFS who attended the premiere have said that watching it was like a sort of emotional release. This film’s powerful storytelling and the strength of this medium clearly speaks to a collective experience. The realities of living with ME/CFS is being shown to mainstream audiences helping to get ME/CFS seen, heard, and felt in an unprecedented way. Based on the responses, this personal narrative mixed with political and medical realities has already had an impact on its viewers. Check out these excerpts from some reviews of the documentary in mainstream media outlets:
Medical-community confusion and first-person suffering make for a tough but worthwhile doc. – John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
With tender intimacy and an advocate’s urgency, Brea’s “Unrest” is both a revelation and a call to action. The movie does what all good documentaries do: It illuminates, it touches the heart, and it points the way to solutions. – Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune
Patients are shown to have come up with numerous home-remedy “cures” (most of a dietary nature), most of which have fleeting impact at best. More successful are Brea’s efforts at orchestrating heightened awareness for a syndrome that still attracts considerable public skepticism, and whose medical research is poorly funded as a result. – Dennis Harvey, Variety
This disease kills initiative. It destroys human talent in a most insidious way, because its victims still have their innate talents, but they can’t use them. Jen describes lying in bed for most of two years, saying, “It was like I had died but was forced to watch as the world moved on.” – Bruce Kasanoff, Forbes
What’s next? aka WHEN CAN I WATCH IT?!?!
The ‘Unrest’ website has a rough timeline of their release process. Despite the fact that the film has already been screened at Sundance, viewers at home are not going to be able to see the film for a bit longer. They’re off to SXSW next, then premiering the film internationally. They anticipate a US theatrical release (yes, in movie theaters!), community screenings, and Kickstarter DVDs to be available in Fall 2017.
The film will be premiering on US Broadcast television on PBS’s Independent Lens in early 2018. Specific dates and details are still being worked out and many more updates are sure to follow in the coming months. For updates, check out the Unrest Film’s FAQ page and consider signing up for their email newsletter.
The Microbe Discovery team wish to say a huge thank you to Jen and Omar and the `Unrest` team for their hard and exceptional work. Thank you so much to every person who was part of this film and all who supported. With the wide reach of the planned releases, this film has the potential to reach tens of millions of viewers and change the way that the world sees ME/CFS. This would have an immeasurable impact. We could be on the brink of major change with a new era of awareness.