Friday, September 21, 2007
Doors open at 6 p.m.
Film begins at 7:30 p.m.
Landmark Century Centre Cinema
2828 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60657
Tickets are $10, and can be purchased the day of the event. Ticket price includes a cocktail reception before the film, panel discussion, screening and after party. Visit website for full details. http://midwestfilm.com/
Writer and Director Ben Byer, Producer Rebeccah Rush and Editor Timothy Baron will be in attendance.
Come support 'Indestructible' in our hometown! Please forward this announcement to your friends, family and colleagues and donate whenever possible.
Awareness means change. You have the power to make a difference.
The ALS Film Fund thanks you for your support.
Special Note: Do you have friends or family on the east coast? 'Indestructible' has also been accepted into the Newburyport Documentary Film Festival in Massachusetts and will be screened on Sunday, September 30th. Spread the word.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
On another happy note, we're home again from Montreal, having experienced the many aspects of a huge film festival, filled with movies from all over the world on a myriad of subjects. I'm happy to report that "Indestructible" received a fantastic review that appeared in Variety and is reprinted below for your enjoyment.
Montreal World Film Fest
With: Ben Byer, Steven Byer, Barbara Byer, Rebeccah Rush, Oliver Sacks, Josh Byer.
Commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, after the ballplayer who was among the first known to have succumbed, ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative condition for which there is no cure. It's "brought science to its knees," says one prominent medico marshaled among the requisite talking heads, while another calls it simply "the Grim Reaper." Nerve cells in the central nervous system stop sending messages to the brain, muscles atrophy, movement and speech become impossible -- all in three to five years. Physicist Stephen Hawking is a very rare exception to this timetable, vivid evidence that in the majority of cases, mental faculties remain preserved.
Diagnosed in 2002 at 31, happy-go-lucky Chicagoan Byer is separated from a wife who genially calls him "a freak," but he enjoys a loving relationship with young son John. Year one finds him wisecracking about having more time to watch TV and zig-zagging around the country to interview experts and fellow sufferers, including "Awakenings" author Dr. Oliver Sacks and a woman cared for by her family in Greece.
Year two brings concerted efforts to fight the disease. Byer and his father, Steven -- who confesses, "I don't know muscles from dog food" -- become involved with a Chinese herbal remedy. They fly to China and interview the inventor.
By 2005, Byer is still determined, but clearly deteriorating. He travels to Jerusalem to explore what "Judaism has to offer me" and climb Masada with burly brother Josh. A poignant coda flashes back to Byer's vid diary from years ago, where he expresses a sincere wish to become a helmer and see his work on the bigscreen.
Clearly the work of a man with much to say and little time in which to say it, the pic, punctuated by a vicious argument among his fiercely supportive family members, thrums with urgency, passion and a natural humor much deeper than the unpredictable laughing (and crying) jags symptomatic of the monstrous disease.
Tech credits are fine, particular given the disparate lineage of the material and the timeframe of the production. Lenser and co-producer Roko Belic directed 1999 indie sensation "Genghis Blues." Now in a wheelchair with no remaining arm movement and severely slurred speech, Byer remains inexterminable, and was on hand for most of the Montreal fest at which the pic screened.
Camera (color, DV), Roko Belic; editor, Tim Baron; music, Brendan Canty; associate producer, Baron. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (Documentaries of the World), Sept. 1, 2007. (In Cinequest Film Festival, San Jose.) Running time: 118 MIN.
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Saturday, September 1, 2007
We’re 3 sisters. Sandra, Eleanor, Barbara. In so many ways,
Yesterday, I flew to
Eleanor wrote this letter to Kevin Dutton, the remarkable man who saw
“Thank you for being an incredible person and saving my sister, Sandy Wallman. If you hadn't been at the right place at the right time,
“Thank you for those words you wrote. I can't put into words how humbled I am to have found myself a part of such caring, wonderful people. Your sister must truly be a special woman; even in sickness, it seems, she is bringing love into others lives and for that I am thankful. I can't explain how, but even in those few minutes I was able to spend with your sister I could sense the kind of person that you all know her to be. As much as I was able to keep her calm and relaxed, I felt like she was doing the same for me. I will keep all of you in my prayers and try to share the compassion with others that you have all shared with me.”