2017 Sundance Docs in Focus: UNREST

unrestUNREST
Jennifer Brea gives viewers a candid look at life with a debilitating and widely misunderstood medical condition.

Festival Section:
US Documentary Competition

Sundance Program Description:

Jennifer Brea is an active Harvard PhD student about to marry the love of her life when suddenly her body starts failing her. Hoping to shed light on her strange symptoms, Jennifer grabs a camera and films the darkest moments unfolding before her eyes as she is derailed by ME (commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), a mysterious illness some still believe is “all in your head.”

In this story of love and loss, newlyweds Jennifer and Omar search for answers as they face unexpected obstacles with great heart. Often confined by her illness to the private space of her bed, Jen is moved to connect with others around the globe. Utilizing Skype, she unlocks a forgotten community with intimate portraits of four other families suffering similarly. Jennifer Brea’s wonderfully honest portrayal asks us to rethink the stigma around an illness that affects millions of people. UNREST is a vulnerable and eloquent personal documentary that is sure to hit closer to home than many could imagine.

Some Background:
Director/Producer:

  • Jennifer Brea
    This is Brea’s directorial debut, which was supported by the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program.

Producers:

  • Lindsey Dryden
    This is Dryden’s first Sundance credit. She previously directed and produced the SXSW-debuting LOST AND SOUND.

  • Patricia E Gillespie
    Gillespie also served as a line producer on fellow 2017 US Documentary Competition title WHOSE STREETS?.

Co-Producers:

  • Alysa Nahmias
    Nahmias’ directorial debut UNFINISHED SPACES was part of Sundance Film Forward, a touring program of the Sundance Institute revolving around cultural dialogue. This is her first film as part of the festival.

  • Anne Troldtoft Hjorth
    This is the Danish freelance journalist and producer’s first film credit.

Executive Producers:

  • Deborah Hoffmann
    Past Sundance docs:

    LONG NIGHT’S JOURNEY INTO DAY (2000, director/editor, Sundance Documentary Grand Jury Prize)
    COMPLAINTS OF A DUTIFUL DAUGHTER (1995, director/producer/editor)

    Hoffman was nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Academy Award for both of the above films, and is also known as a documentary editor, having cut Sundance alumni such as THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK (1985).

  • Ruth Ann Harnisch
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE HUNTING GROUND (2015)

    Harnisch is a former journalist whose Harnisch Foundation supports gender and racial equality and inclusivity.

  • Regina Scully
    Past recent Sundance docs:

    NEWTOWN (2016)
    MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE (2016)
    RESILIENCE (2016)
    UNDER THE GUN (2016)
    THE EAGLE HUNTRESS (2016)
    DREAMCATCHER (2015)
    THE HUNTING GROUND

    The Artemis Rising Foundation philanthropist is also an executive producer for fellow 2017 US Documentary Competition title STEP.

  • Ian Darling
    Past Sundance docs:

    HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD (2015)
    HELL AND BACK AGAIN (2011)

  • Dan Cogan
    Past recent Sundance docs:

    AUDRIE & DAISY (2016)
    NOTES ON BLINDNESS (2016)
    NUTS! (2016)
    THE EAGLE HUNTRESS
    CENSORED VOICES (2015)
    THE HUNTING GROUND
    SEMBENE! (2015)
    DREAMCATCHER
    HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD
    CHUCK NORRIS VS COMMUNISM (2015)
    HOT GIRLS WANTED (2015)
    IN FOOTBALL WE TRUST (2015)

    Impact Films’ Co-Founder/Executive Director Cogan is also an executive producer of three other US Documentary Competition titles this year – DINA, ICARUS, STEP, and TROPHY – and the Documentary Premieres title BENDING THE ARC.

  • Donna Fairman Wilson
    This is Wilson’s first film credit.

  • Lisa Gunn
    This is also Gunn’s first film credit.

  • Lynda Weinman
    Weinman is a founder of the LinkedIn-acquired online software training website Lynda.com. She previously worked in animation and special effects for Hollywood studio films and taught digital media and graphics. She is also an associate producer of fellow 2017 US Documentary Competition title CHASING CORAL.

Co-Executive Producers:

  • Mitch and Debbie Menaged
    The San Francisco-based Menageds are behind the Menaged Foundation and make their Sundance debut as executive producers with this project.

  • Mona Eliassen
    Eliassen is an entrepreneur whose personal experience with ME/CFS has led to her extensive philanthropic work related to the condition.

  • Jenny Raskin
    Past Sundance docs:

    NOTES ON BLINDNESS
    AUDRIE & DAISY
    SEMBENE!
    HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD
    CENSORED VOICES
    CHUCK NORRIS VS COMMUNISM
    WEB JUNKIE (2014)
    THE CRASH REEL (2013, co-producer)

    Impact Partners VP Raskin also executive produced fellow 2017 Sundance US Documentary Competition titles DINA, STEP, and TROPHY.

Editors:

  • Kim Roberts
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE HUNTING GROUND
    INEQUALITY FOR ALL (2013)
    THE BARBER OF BIRMINGHAM (short) (2011)
    WAITING FOR “SUPERMAN” (2010)
    FREEHELD (short) (2007)
    THE FALL OF FUJIMORI (2005)
    DAUGHTER FROM DANANG (2002, Sundance Documentary Grand Jury Prize)
    DADDY & PAPA (2002)
    LONG NIGHT’S JOURNEY INTO DAY

  • Emiliano Battista
    Past Sundance docs:

    3 1/2 MINUTES, TEN BULLETS (2015)
    ALL THAT IS SOLID MELTS INTO AIR (New Frontier installation) (2011)

Why You Should Watch:
Brea’s deeply personal film instantly engenders empathy for its warmly open director and supportive spouse, but by wisely broadening to encompass the stories of others facing ME/CFS, the project conveys a sense of urgency about the need to understand and address the condition.

More Info:
Website
Facebook

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance 2017 Twitter list.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

3 responses to “2017 Sundance Docs in Focus: UNREST

  1. Our body charged with positive electron. If we contact with negative charge, our body charged with negative electron and gene expression and control system may alter or sleep and have several diseases. If we have several disease, we enter the chronic fatigue syndrome. If we escape from negative electron source and remove the body negative electron with body tune up.
    That is all. Patient will be healthy.

  2. Kathryn Mullins

    Excited for you Jen and your husband. Hope you are taking care not to overdue. At a loss of words about what your documentary may do for the MYALGIC ENCEPHALOMYELITIS communities. Feel like I’m holding my breath and need to do something positive for ME as I lay in bed day After day. Mind racing, body not co-operating, sleeping 18 hours a day, need to lay flat, body vibrating, losing words. Blessings dear one. May it all go well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s