Some stories are so incredible, so powerful that they must be committed to some form of storytelling. Pen and paper, celluloid film, still image, music, dance, paint, hell even puppetry will do. A medium to bring words to life, birth little legends, and make sure stories are spread and shared with the world. Now, imagine, you not only have an amazing story to tell, but you have a story to tell that you share intimately with your brother. A story that binds you. A story that must be heard. A story that literally gave life. This is what brothers Jared and Cameron Wohl share and it’s an inspirational gift to us all that they committed their story to film. So, what’s the story behind their documentary "65 Percent"? At age 13, the younger of the two brothers, Cameron, was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease affecting his liver. Ten years later, when things took a turn for the worse, doctors declared that he would need a liver translate in order to live. Unfortunately, with the high demand for organs and a long waiting list, doctors had to pose another idea. What about a living-donor transplant? Fate would have it that his older brother, Jared, would be a match and would willingly give up over half of his own liver in order to save his brother’s life. In 2014, the transplant surgery was a success and last year, this insanely touching story of sacrifice, family, and survival was told in a documentary depicting the entire family’s journey through the process. Hence: "65 Percent". The brothers’ initiative The Wave Set is a non-profit organization that not only successfully crowdfunded to raise money for the production of "65 Perfect" but also now functions as a means to inspire second chances at life through educating and spreading awareness of the vital importance of organ donation. Their slogan, “We are Vital to Each Other”, couldn’t hold more truth to it. As humans, we need each other. We are bound by one major common thing: existence. And as a cinema lover, I’m beyond proud to see that the medium of film was chosen to visually give us that vital reminder. Getting to attend the screening of "65 Percent" during the inaugural Indie Street Film Festival last July was something truly special to witness. Both their family and the local NJ community filled the theater with such an abundance of support and it was an honor to meet the Wohl brothers and see their success in action. If you didn’t get a chance to catch the film during its festival run, well, it’s your lucky day. Today, on April 26th, their story is shared with the world for FREE on Youtube. Amazingly enough, both brothers were born on this day - THREE years apart. Another unbelievable cherry on top of a well deserved celebration of life. So, here’s to Jared and Cameron - to a wonderful year of accomplishments and to many, many more to come. Do your part, watch the film (it’s only a short 50 minutes long and remember: FREE) and then head over to The Wave Set’s official site to donate or register as a donor. Spread the word, share the love!
Are documentary films and all things non-fiction your thing? Well, you’re in luck! If you’re planning on being in the NYC area anytime between Feb. 16 through Feb. 26, the Museum of Modern Art’s 2017 Doc Fortnight is the place to be! The 10 day festival kicks off tomorrow and will feature 20 feature-length films and 10 doc shorts, including 4 world premieres and many more US premieres. Check out a breakdown of the entire schedule and get more info on what the MoMA's Doc Fortnight has to offer over on IndieWire now!
POV, the documentary series by PBS, will be sharing some of their most popular indie titles for free this summer. With both shorts and features available and 30 Emmy Awards between them all, there’s bound to be something for everyone. You can watch online or via this PBS app. Check out a list of some highlights here and get watching!
Ah, happiness. Such a strange, elusive beast. In the new feature documentary, The Happy Film, filmmaker and designer Stefan Sagmeister explores the emotion by putting himself through a series of self-guided experiments in order to find out if he can manufacture the feeling. For the past seven years, he has been operating on a weekly happiness 1-10 rating scale system and exploring three methods for finding happiness: meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotropic drugs. The quirky, thought-provoking film born from this endeavor recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Interested? You can read WIRED’s review of it here.