HYPERION — A Film That Needs To Be Made

15 05 2013

May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website, cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that affects the lungs and digestive system in about 30,000 children and adults in the United States and 70,000 worldwide. In the 1950’s, children rarely lived long enough to attend elementary school. With research and medical treatments, outcomes are much better, yet still a cure needs to be found.

Kickstarter is a website that was developed to fund creative projects. According to their website, since 2009, more than 4 million people have pledged over $611 million funding more than 41,000 creative projects. Each project details what its needs to continue in development. Only projects that reach their goal 100% within a set time will be funded by those people who back the project. Oftentimes developers will offer incentives for certain levels of pledges. People often pledge because they feel some emotional connection to a project.

I was personally moved by the intense commitment of an actor who is associated with a project, Wesam Keesh. He was from the show “TOUCH” that was recently cancelled by Fox Broadcasting. The show opened with a narrative from Jake Bohm (actor David Mazouz) about numbers very similar to the a belief borne from the red string of fate, a Chinese legend that said the gods tie an invisible red string around the ankles of those that are destined to be soul mates and will one day marry each other. The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break, a concept very similar to soul mates. But Tim Kring, the creator of TOUCH, twisted this idea even further to tie a group of individuals’ lives together.

This project on Kickstarter is a film called HYPERION. Hyperion in Greek mythology means “the high one.” Hyperion was one of the 12 Titans. He was the Lord of Light. It is also the name of the tallest Redwood tree. 

HYPERION is a story created by Boman Modine who was inspired by the life of Eva Markvoort who passed away April 27, 2010 of cystic fibrosis. Her life journey can be read on her LiveJournal at http://65redroses.livejournal.com/

Being a mother of a child with severe autism and other disabilities, I understand the pain of seeing your child suffer with an incurable disease. Someday I hope a cure is found for autism, and if not that, then how it can be 100% prevented. I know that awareness is only the first step. I prefer having “action” than awareness. If this is the story inspires people to want to give to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, then this is a story that needs to be funded. I understand why this movie is called HYPERION. She was a goddess of light in the face of this disease process, in the face of her very palpable mortality. While researching this article, I discovered very few films were ever made that involves stories of the lives of people living with cystic fibrosis. There have been occasional episodes that have involved cystic fibrosis. Not having seen any of those episodes, if it is anything like autism, they likely get it mostly wrong. I felt like HYPERION might be like the movie 50/50. No one understood how this movie could work, but it did. I understand that in that movie, the character had a positive outcome, but we all face mortality and how we live in the droplets of life between birth and death is what matters.

Wesam was kind enough to answer some questions about the project and why this project is special to him.

How did you get involved in this project?

Boman Modine (director/writer) and I first discussed the project in its early stages during a regular coffee meet up. The story touched me deeply and the awareness it brings to Cystic Fibrosis is extremely valuable. You get to see how the disease affects people who have it, loved ones involved, and third party individuals. The message it tells is one of hope, love and strength.

Do you know someone who has (or had) cystic fibrosis?

Before this film I did not know anyone with Cystic Fibrosis, but through the film making process I was so honored to meet a woman who had a lung transplant from CF. Her story is amazing. She had her lung transplant 16-1/2 years ago and is doing great right now. Her attitude through most of her life has been a positive one and I do believe her positivity and inner faith pulled her through dark times in her life. Her case, unfortunately, is a very rare one. Transplant patients tend to survive only a few years after the surgery. She also mentioned to me that many young CF patients she has met have had a very negative and pessimistic attitude towards their ordeal. She really wants to let them know that their lives don’t have to be ruined by this disease. Yes, it’s an aspect of their life but it shouldn’t dictate their attitude or achievements that they could accomplish.

In researching how many films there were about cystic fibrosis, there have been a rare few. There have been individual episodes of different television series. What is special about this movie?

What makes HYPERION stand out is the positivity it brings through its story, the realistic relationships that are affected, and the humanity of the human spirit in the most dismal of times.

I see that Eva Markvoort, the woman who inspired this movie, HYPERION, passed away in 2010. Did you get to meet her before her death or her family at all before filming?

I did not unfortunately. It would have been a great honor.

What did you need to do to prepare for your role in this movie?

As of now, I am still in the process of preparation. Lots of reading and talking with people affected by CF.

Kickstarter can be a blessing for a lot of projects that would not otherwise get made. I see you passionately tweeting about this project, trying to get investors. What is driving this passion?

The message. There are many diseases out there that need research and awareness. Cystic Fibrosis is unfortunately one of those diseases that get overshadowed. I’m a very active person and I couldn’t imagine being stuck in a hospital bed. It would be so incredibly frustrating and depressing for me. I’m thankful for the body I have. So, I want to help those who don’t have what I have. I want to give them strength. We need to show people that even the smallest amount of thanks, donation, or sharing goes a very long way. The smallest effort could have the biggest effect.

Hyperion

From Right: Jason White, Joe Toronto, Wesam Keesh, Eddie Hassell (Courtesy of Wesam Keesh)

————————–

The project is struggling. With only 16 days to go, it is only about 33% funded. You do not have to be wealthy in order to be a part of something beautiful. If 3000 people pledged $5.00 each, that would get them there. I easily have 3000 views of my blog. I decided to join the cause. Because in the end, we are all connected.

For more information, please check out the project at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/447490465/hyperion-0?play=1&ref=search

Follow these people associated with the project on Twitter:

Boman Modine: @bomanmodine
Joe Toronto: @joetoronto10
Wesam Keesh: @WesamKeesh





Touch Season 1 Episode 4 “Kite Strings”

30 01 2013

(I got behind in the spring on these recaps. With Touch returning Friday, February 8, I thought I’d catch up).

Martin (Kiefer Sutherland) receives a letter from the chief medical examiner presumably about his wife’s remains at the World Trade Center. He looks over at the red kite, picks it up and leaves.

The newspaper says that the TriState Lotto winner was costing them $140,625 a week having not claimed the prize. He won $190 million. (I should be an editor–if you look closely enough you’ll see that the newspaper article repeats twice).

NewspaperClipping

Flash to the First Congregational Church of Lynchburg where Randall Meade (Titus Welliver) reads the marquee, “You have questions? He has answers.”

Jake (David Mazouz) is narrating in the background that we are always waiting for messages. He poses that if we have not received a message, it might be because we haven’t listened hard enough.

At the center, Martin tells Clea (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) said that they have not yet identified his wife’s remains (Fact: 40% of the victims in the WTC have never been identified). Martin regrets not being there for Sarah and Jake because he thought he had all the time in the world. He wants to take Jake to the cemetery and Clea approves. Jake runs to Bobby Aresa (Kiko Ellsworth) at Sarah’s grave with his kite in hand. Bobby was a bike messenger and knew Sarah from the WTC and they became friends. Sarah Bohm was born on 4/3/1970. (I don’t know if that is significant but thought I would write it down). Jake looks down at his dropped red book with combinations of 9-5 with varying decimal points.

Notebook

Martin looks as the clock on his cell phone changes to 9:50. Jake releases the kite. Jake is wearing a red shirt, too. Jake and Martin follow the kite. Eventually they come to an intersection where we see “checks cashed 9.5%“. Jake crosses the street.

CellPhone

ChecksCashed95

All the way around the globe in Iraq, we see Tarik (Wesam Keesh) and Abdul (Shak Ghacha) who we have met in previous episodes. Band practice is at 9:50 p.m. The US soldiers hire them to play at the base. Abdul excitedly lets First Lt. Laura Davis (Sprague Grayden) know when her convoy follows.

BandPractice950pm

Back in Lynchburg, Randall Meade observes a very unconfident preacher. He tells the congregation to open to Luke 9 chapter 5. “And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” In historical context, the passage is about when armed with the power and authority that Jesus himself had been displaying, the 12 disciples are now sent out to continue the work that Jesus had been performing throughout Gallean ministry. Randall tells Pastor Steve (Josiah Early) that “he has answers” is a bunch of crap.

There is an ad on a subway sign that says Citrus O has only 270 calories and is 99.5 degrees in the shade.

SubwaySign

Another sign says, “Construction on Ninth Street; expect a half-hour delay.”

Construction9thStreet

Jake walks into the apartment building to door “65” that turns into “95” after a ball hits the door at the precise moment he is there. It’s Bobby from the cemetery. Martin asks him if 9.5 or 9-1/2 means anything to him.

DoorNumber

Jake walks into the apartment. Bobby’s daughter’s name is Sarah.

Sarah

In Iraq, the two military vehicles get hit by IEDs and the soldiers are under fire. An injured Laura pulls a squadmate out of the vehicle and gets away from the scene.

Laura

Jake seems attracted to the red roses on the table as Bobby shares his memory of Sarah with Martin. He knew that the WTC would come down as he felt the instructions to go back into the offices was wrong. He has been feeling guilty for not going after Sarah.

Roses

Pastor Steve shares how the church has stayed in the family and the plans his father had for expansion. He tells Randall that he had plans to go up to New York and follow his girlfriend (which turns out to be Laura). Randall shares his story about what happened with Sarah. He also shares about his background in construction work growing up. Steve asks him if he could look at something in the basement. As they walk down the stairs, they fall in and get locked in.

Tarik’s band, Deep Lightning, is using an amp, a RichterVox Model 95-A, but they want to make sure they don’t exceed the safety level of volts.

RichterVox

In the background is a poster of Andrew James who is a famous bass player. (Yes, I notice this stuff).

AndrewJames

They ask King Roadie (Joshua Leonard) who types in 50 volts. King Roadie apparently keeps his old instruction sets in a red suitcase.

50volts

The soldiers are asked to give their sit-rep 9-5. They still cannot locate the two injured soldiers.

Jake goes into a room in Bobby’s apartment, locks the door and climbs out to the fire escape. He goes after the red kite. King Roadie’s girlfriend is startled by Jake at the window (Jake had changed the satellite signal where the red kite was caught). The girlfriend falls back, a pen drops on the keyboard and 50 volts gets changed to 950 volts.

950volts

Jake reaches for the kite. Martin realizes that Jake wants Bobby to help him get it. Bobby catches Jake before he falls. Martin tells him that in saving Jake, his debt he felt to Sarah was repaid.

BobbyJake

Over in Iraq, 950 volts makes for quite a light display and it lights up a particular transformer where the two soldiers are. Their coordinates were 3-0-9-5. (Look in the right corner of my screen. There are 9:59 minutes left of the show–LOL).

Green

Bobby remembered how 9-5 was significant in his life with Sarah. It was the last session with Sarah. Sarah was tutoring him to help him get his GED so he could better provide for his family.

Pastor Steve talks to Laura who is not sure if she will make it, but wanted him to know that something he said to her helped save her squadmate. He tells Laura he has been given a sign to move on with his life. He plans to go to Germany to be with her. Randall thinks his question has been answered, too.

LauraBeforeSurgery

Back at the apartment, Martin looks in Sarah’s appointment book where he sees B.A. (Bobby Aresa) in her 9/5/2001 appointments. He also finds a receipt to Thomas Brothers Jewelry. He goes there. They held onto the wedding ring that belonged to Sarah. She was having it engraved with 1 + 1 = 3.

SarahsRing