An Intimate Look at the Debilitating Effects of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Jennifer Brea, Filmmaker, Unrest
(San Francisco, CA, Thursday, January, 4, 2018) – Filmmaker Jennifer Brea was a Harvard PhD student soon to be married when she is struck down by a mysterious fever that leaves her bedridden. As her illness progressed she lost even the ability to sit in a wheelchair, yet doctors insisted it was “all in her head.”
Unable to convey the seriousness and depth of her symptoms to her doctor, Jennifer began a video diary on her phone that eventually becomes the powerful and intimate documentary, Unrest.
Once Jennifer was diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), she and her new husband, Omar, were left to grapple with how to shape a future together in the face of a lifelong illness.
Written, directed, and produced by Brea, Unrest premieres on Independent Lens Monday, January 8, 2018, 10:00 to 11:30 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS.
At its core, Unrest is a love story. Though Jennifer and Omar may never live the life they originally dreamed about, together they find resilience, strength, and meaning in each other and their new-found community. Unrest made its world premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and has been independently distributed with the support of Sundance Institute’s Creative Distribution Fellowship.
Jennifer Brea (Director/Writer/Producer) is an independent documentary filmmaker based in Los Angeles. She has an AB from Princeton University and was a PhD student at Harvard until a sudden illness left her bedridden. In the aftermath, she rediscovered her first love, film. Her feature documentary, Unrest, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, where it won a Special Jury Prize. She is also co-creator of Unrest VR, winner of the Sheffield Doc/Fest Alternate Realities Award. An activist for invisible disabilities and chronic illness, she co-founded a global advocacy network, #MEAction, and is a TED Talker.