ABOUT THE FILM
Life On The Bridge is a film about creating joy in life no matter the challenges and obstacles that might stand in the way. It will be a personal documentary that raises expectations about creating a good life while living with kidney dialysis, highlighting what is possible. Even though the specific subject here is dialysis, the film will make clear that this applies to life in general and to any type of chronic illness or condition.
The full final film is anticipated to be about 40-minutes in length., and remains a work in progress. A 28-minute version has been completed, and is the one that was screened at the Big Apple Film Festival in New York City on November 5, 2015. It is now available to stream or download (See "Rent or Buy Life On The Bridge" page, above.) The film interweaves the central theme of Judy Weintraub’s lifelong journey on dialysis, with those of others on a similar road as well as those working in the field. Judy's story is the spine of the film, and the description below applies to the longer film, not yet completed.
As the story unfolds, Judy, after years of waiting, is called in for a third kidney transplant. She had previously received two transplants, both of which failed within a few short months. Judy had begun kidney dialysis treatments as a teenager and has been on some form of dialysis ever since. Over the decades, she did both in-center hemodialysis and more than a decade of peritoneal dialysis. The documentary follows what happens from the first hopeful days and weeks to several months later, as Judy and her doctors fight to keep this new transplant.
As we watch this process, we look back and see what her life was like before she received the third transplant. She pursues her love for theatre, despite her physical challenges. We see how Judy balances her life with the treatment that sustains it. We see her activities in many areas, pursuing her interests in acting, cooking, education and health activism.
Throughout, we also hear the personal stories and experiences of people of different backgrounds who are living with dialysis or transplantation. Family members share what it's like to be with loved ones who live with this disease. Professionals speak out - doctors, nurses, technicians, and social workers share their view of the field.
Specifically, some of the individuals we hear from are:
· A former nurse, who was one of the first transplant coordinators in California to eventually, herself, receive a kidney transplant due to diabetes;
· A family man who works full-time, known to his family as “El Milagro” (The Miracle), who is joyfully living life with peritoneal dialysis;
· A businesswoman who, after returning to hemodialysis after a transplant fails, looks realisticially at her future dialysis options;
· A mother who tells of the privilege of donating a kidney to her adult son;
· A young man who talks of creating new dreams while living with chronic illness;
· A nephrologist who discusses what it takes to live life well with dialysis;
· Dialysis nurses who explain the types of dialysis available, along with a transplant pharmacalogist who disusses the current state of transplantation;
· A social worker who describes how she is enlightened daily by the wisdom of the people she works with who live with chronic disease.
Though functioning at first, Judy's kidney, after several unexpected complications, eventually fails. Judy returns to dialysis, and struggles to recover and adapt once again, to the realities of the medical regimen. The film concludes with Judy successfully living her life and doing her treatment modality of the last twelve-plus years - nocturnal home hemodialysis - with her husband of eight years alongside her.
Life On The Bridge, when completed, will be released to the general public. It will be screened at independent theaters, universities and available on DVD through the internet.
The second component of this film project is the creation of a shorter film designed to be part of an educational piece for medical students and physicians-in-training. It will emphasize the often-overlooked physician’s role as gatekeeper and champion for people living with any type of chronic health issue. Life On The Bridge will encourage young physicians to be invested in not only the straight medical aspect, but the rehabilitative aspect as well…. so that they can effectively restore the well-being of their patients. Life On The Bridge will be distributed to medical schools and physician-training programs. With the enthusiastic support of prominent physicians around the country, we are seeking to cast as wide a net as possle.
"The more specific the expression, the more universal its meaning."
This is a rough-cut of an early 6-minute trailer. Much of this was ultimately not used in the film. so I guess the technical term is "outtake." Three-time Emmy-winning film editor Allan Holzman was the editor of the film, and of the other trailers. (Bless you, Allan.) This one was edited by my hubby, Joel, as an experiment.