By Rich Henrich
This year, Film 4 Change presents a series of documentaries on health and immigration. From personal choices changing one man’s life to the battle one family must face to fight for the life and rights to treat their child and an inspiring treatment for alcoholism from Finland to a humanist tale of triumph and tragedy over immigration, these films will open your hearts and minds to what is possible.
MAY I BE FRANK
Frank Ferrante is a 54 year old Sicilian from Brooklyn living in San Francisco. A lover of life, great food, beautiful women and a good laugh, Frank is also a drug addict, morbidly obese, pre-diabetic, and fighting Hepatitis C. He’s estranged from his daughter, single, and struggling with depression. Frank knows that life can be better than this, and is looking for a way out.
May I Be Frank documents the transformation of Frank Ferrante’s life. He unknowingly stumbles into a local restaurant in San Francisco, Café Gratitude, a raw, organic and vegan café. As he becomes friends with the staff, he keeps returning to the café where he feels welcomed and free from his collapsing personal life. On one such visit, Frank is asked by Ryland, one of the servers, “What is one thing you want to do before you die?” Frank replies “I want to fall in love one more time, but no one will love me looking the way I do.”
Inspired by the possibility of helping Frank, Ryland invites him to come into the café everyday for the next month. Armed with a camera and a wide open heart, Ryland soon enrolls his brother Cary, and Conor, his best friend, to participate in supporting Frank’s transformation. The final agreement is made that for the next 42 days, Frank will turn his life over to three twenty-something young men committed to his healing and prepared to coach him physically, emotionally and spiritually. Frank will eat only raw food, practice gratitude, visit local holistic practitioners, and get a weekly colonic. Ryland, Conor, and Cary get to support and witness Frank’s miraculous transformation. Frank gets a new body, a clearer mind, and most importantly, a soaring spirit.
Over those 42 days, the four men go on the ride of their lives. Setting out to help Frank lose weight and get healthy, no one anticipated the profound impact this journey would have on the lives of countless others. Through Frank’s story of love, redemption, and transformation, the viewers witness the power of change for themselves and the world. May I Be Frank documents the essence of the human condition and what it truly means to fall in love again.
ONE LITTLE PILL
The treatment for alcoholism they don’t want you to know about. “Your alcoholism will kill you before your HIV does,” says a doctor to one of the characters. Worldwide, alcohol abuse kills more people than HIV, nearly 2.5 million per year.
Yet what the public believes, and Alcoholics Anonymous purports, “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic,” is not as true as you think. Nor is the fundamental principle for treating alcoholism that we all take as truth; abstinence. Science has shown that abstinence not only doesn’t take away the addiction, but also increases the craving. So why has one modality dominated our thought since the 1930’s? Why are profitable rehab facilities reluctant to change? And why are millions of people still being denied the opportunity of a simple life saving method and drug that have been FDA approved since 1994?
One Little Pill takes an in depth look at a simple, safe method with success rates of 78%, the suppressing obstacles surrounding it, and those people just now finding it.
CUT POISON BURN
Cut Poison Burn is a controversial, eye opening, and sometimes, heartbreaking documentary that puts the business of cancer treatment under the microscope. Follow the frustrating journeys of critically ill cancer patients as they try to navigate the confusing and dangerous maze of treatment and encounter formidable obstacles in the “cancer industrial complex.” A compelling critique of the influence of medical monopolies, the power of pharmaceutical companies and government agencies, Cut Poison Burn is essential viewing for anyone and everyone touched by cancer.
“120 Days” captures an intimate, inside look at the lives of one family of undocumented immigrants who have been living and working in the United States illegally for over twelve years. The father, Miguel Cortes, could be forced to leave the country in four months as a result of his immigration status. Local police discovered Miguel was in the U.S. illegally after pulling him over without cause (no moving violations were discussed or issued). They hand-cuffed Miguel for driving without a license, and detained him for ICE deportation processing through the controversial 287(g) agreement, which allows local police to act as immigration enforcers. After paying a $5000 bond, he was released until his pending court date and sentencing, and his fate was decided several weeks later in the North Carolina Immigration Court in Charlotte. In exchange for Miguel agreeing to leave the country voluntarily, the judge granted Miguel “120 days” to get his affairs in order before leaving his wife, Maria-Luisa, and their two daughters, Yael and Saydrel, in the U.S. to continue their education. If he follows the agreement, no official deportation will be recorded against him, thus allowing him the possibility of returning legally someday (if he gets his papers, or if U.S. policy changes). This film documents Miguel’s last official “120 days” in the United States, as he works hard, saves his money, and weighs his options about returning to Mexico alone, or changing his name and disappearing into another U.S. city illegally to keep his family together.
For more information on AMFM Fest presented by Cathedral City, please go to www.AMFMfest.com. Tickets start at $5 and are available at the UltraStar Mary Pickford Theatre box office. Art and Music programs are FREE.