Jennifer Brea’s award-winning M.E. film snapped up by US public services broadcaster | 1 February 2017

February 1, 2017

Story by Tony Britton

Jennifer Brea's film Unrest, which won a Special Jury Editing Award after it was premiered at last week's Sundance Film Festival in Utah, has been snapped up by the American PBS network. It will be shown on the network's Emmy Award-winning Independent Lens series early next year, following its cinema release.

Yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter estimated that the PBS acquisition means that it will have a TV audience of a million and a half people.

“Since I first picked up my camera and began documenting the unseen world of homebound patients, it's been my dream to share the story of my community with a public audience,” said Jennifer. “I am so thrilled and humbled to bring Unrest to Independent Lens and have it reach the widest audience possible.”

The Hollywood Reporter added:

“Brea was a Harvard PhD candidate when she came down with a mysterious illness known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Along with her husband, Omar, she fights the stigma that surrounds her illness and slowly builds a community of people who are similarly ill.

“Brea produced the doc along with Lindsey Dryden and Patricia E. Gillespie. Deborah Hoffmann, Ruth Ann Harnisch, Regina K. Scully, Lisa Gunn, Donna Fairman Wilson, Dan Cogan, Ian Darling and Lynda Weinman executive produced.

“The deal for the film was negotiated by Lois Vossen for Independent Lens. Submarine's Matt Burke repped the filmmakers, alongside Preferred Content's Abby Davis and Kevin Iwashina. An SVOD rights deal is still in the works.

“The next stop for Brea and Unrest is the South by Southwest Film Festival in March.”

The annual Sundance Festival was founded by Hollywood legend Robert Redford. At the awards ceremony on Saturday, Diego Buñuel presented a US documentary Special Jury Award for Editing to Kim Roberts and Emiliano Battista, who edited the footage in Jennifer's film.

When Harvard PhD student Jennifer Brea is struck down at 28 by a fever that leaves her bedridden, doctors tell her it’s “all in her head.” Determined to live, she sets out on a virtual journey to document her story – and four other families’ stories – fighting a disease medicine forgot.

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