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We are seeking funds to develop a documentary on a little known inner-ear disorder called Ménière’s Disease. Ménière’s (pronounced men-years) that is both chronic and incurable. It causes horrible bouts of vertigo (often with nausea and vomiting), tinnitus, ear pressure and hearing loss which can leave people extremely debilitated.
As is often the case with many 'invisible' illnesses, an afflicted person could be utterly incapacitated by the disease yet look completely healthy on the outside. Even worse, attacks occur irregularly - a Ménière’s sufferer could be fine in the morning and then have a debilitating flare-up in the afternoon that drives them back into their beds. Many may lose their jobs, watch friendships fade and see their marriages break apart. An estimated 45,550 new cases of Ménière’s are diagnosed every year. The fact that the disease is not widely understood will thrust those diagnosed into the role of educator—they must teach not only themselves, but also their family, friends, coworkers, and sometimes even their health-care professionals about the disorder and its impact.
Our producer Janine, a veteran entertainment communications executive, was diagnosed with Ménière’s seven years ago and has faced many of these problems. She recently joined several support groups on Facebook and found a community that provided her with instant support, advice and, most importantly, empathy. Reading the daily posts on these websites, Janine found that her fellow Ménière’s sufferers consistently expressed feelings of isolation. From this, the idea for Unheard: The Ears of Ménière’s was born.
Many documentaries can educate audiences about a disease, but few can actually make them experience what it’s like to have the condition. Ours will do just that.
As our subjects describe their lives with Ménière’s, distinctive audio and visual effects will simulate the symptoms they discuss. The spontaneous spins of vertigo, the continuous high-pitched ringing of tinnitus, the painful audio affliction of hyperacusis, the fluctuating (or permanent) hearing loss – our film will simulate all of these experiences for our audience. (See audio clip above) Our hope is that this will help create greater understanding of the disease and greater empathy for those diagnosed.
The film will feature a diverse mix of subjects. To date, we have secured celebrated musician Huey Lewis and author/tech evangelist Guy Kawasaki. Famed painter Vincent Van Gogh will also be highlighted as well. In a 1990 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a team of doctor's corrected Van Gogh’s misdiagnosis of epilepsy and attributed his "attacks” to Ménière's!
Additionally, Doctors Sujana Chandrasekhar & Anil Lalwani will provide the most up-to-date medical information on the condition – one that has also plagued guitar icon Les Paul, astronaut Alan Shepard and beloved poet Emily Dickinson.
But we need your help. Your donation will not only help us create an informative and entertaining documentary, you’ll also help increase awareness of Ménière’s, and hopefully encourage others to increase funding for research to finding better treatments and a cure.
Since this is an independent production, we need pre-production funds to start preliminary filming. Once we’ve done that, we’ll create a work sample that will help us secure financial grants. As we move through each phase of production, our budget for crew, travel, editing, sound design, visual effects and editing will naturally grow. So this page will remain active, since our goals will increase. Check back for updates!
If you would like to make a TAX DEDUCTIBLE donation please go to our Fiscal Sponsor page: https://fundraising.fracturedatlas.org/the-ears-of-meniere-s
Additional information can be found at www.2ndchapterproductions.com / www.earsofmenieres.com and gives us your info.
Also, don’t forget to follow us on social media.
No incentives, goods or services will be provided in exchange for your solicited gift/donation.
Thank you so much for your consideration!
The room spins violently. The earth disappears from under your feet. A horrific roaring sound fills your ears as painful pressure builds in your head. It comes out of nowhere, like a thief in the night stealing your health. Life changes forever. But how, why?
A startling secret, hiding in plain sight, Ménière’s Disease silently robs thousands of their hearing, balance and ability to maintain their social and professional lives, forcing them into a world of unjust compromise. You can’t see it, and they can’t explain it. This mystery syndrome has been affecting people for over a hundred and sixty years yet no one really knows anything about it.
Unheard: The Ears of Ménière’s documentary seeks to bring Menière’s into the public eye, exploring the enigmatic condition that has plagued painter Vincent van Gogh, astronaut Alan Shepard, and most recently, musician Huey Lewis and author Guy Kawasaki yet hasn’t fully reached the public consciousness.
The film pieces together the complicated puzzle of what is keeping people in the dark in matters of their own health. With creative and precise camera-work, it pulls the audience inside the victims’ head, recreating the symptoms of this disease so they directly experience how it physically debilitates its victims.
Follow the personal journeys of Lewis, Kawasaki and even Van Gogh as they go on a complex investigation for answers and learn to empower themselves, and others, to reclaim balance in their lives while helping those around them understand what is going on inside their heads.
Janine McGoldrick - Producer/Co-Director
Janine is a veteran entertainment executive who developed tactical promotional campaigns for film, television and home entertainment. Most notably, as SVP at the independent film company Cohen Media Group (CMG), she led the awards campaign for the Academy Award® winning film The Salesman (Best Foreign Film, 2017). At CMG she worked closely with the CEO, Marketing, Distribution and Acquisitions teams to provide counsel on release schedules, festival campaigns and films targeted for procurement.
Previously, Janine worked at HBO supervising publicity for the Consumer Marketing, Global Licensing and Home Entertainment divisions. A gifted project manager, McGoldrick has worked with numerous studios including Universal Pictures, Artisan Entertainment, Lionsgate, BBC, Hart-Sharp, New Line and the NY International Children’s Film Festival, to help launch some of the most exciting releases in entertainment. She is a member of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Emmys) and NY Women in Film & Television.
Diagnosed with Ménière’s six years ago, Janine’s is committed to developing a thoughtful and engaging documentary that will inform, entertain and inspire others.
Jill Salvino - Director
Jill Salvino is an accomplished commercial director and storyteller, who has collected over 200 industry awards, including an Emmy®, and directed hundreds of commercials and long form content.
After achieving a successful career in advertising and commercial film directing, Ms. Salvino jumped the fence and began writing and directing for film. Her recent feature LGBT Documentary debut Between the Shades, put faces to the letters and examined the immense power of labels and the transcendence of love. The film was honored at dozens of film festivals and was distributed by Passion River Films. It can currently be streamed on i-Tunes, Google and Amazon and presently licensed in over 300 schools, libraries and on Kanopy educational screening service in perpetuity.
Jill has also directed four film shorts: Taking it for Granted (Best Drama, NYC’s Downtown Film Festival); The Sonnet Project #74 & #153, presented by the New York Shakespeare Exchange; and Lies People Tell (chosen by the New York Women in Film and Television as one of their Top Short Films of the Year). Jill is a member of Promax, long-standing chair of the Telly Silver Counsel, and a member of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and New York Women in Film and Television.
Matt Seigel – Director of Photography/Cinematographer
CLIO Award® winning director of photography Matt Siegel designs, composes, and lights for commercials, feature films, and documentaries. As a feature film camera operator, he has worked on The Matrix: Reloaded, Master and Commander, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Matt has extensive industry experience as a 2nd Unit DP and Camera Operator on episodic television, including the WB series “Everwood,” the CBS drama “Joan of Arcadia,” the Jerry Bruckheimer series “Just Legal,” and the CBS series “The Mentalist.”
His commercial clients include Google, Toyota, Ford, SONY, Audi, MasterCard, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola, with multi-platform branding campaigns filmed for Bayer, Honda, CVS, Timberland, The Smithsonian Institute, and the US Army. His work has won international recognition, including ADDY, TELE, Cannes’ Golden Lion, and Cable ACE awards.
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