January 15 Broadcast Nationwide on PBS
Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita, a feature length documentary film featuring John A. Kessler, MD, chair of the neurology department, will broadcast nationally on the PBS series, Independent Lens, on January 15, 2008.
The film puts a human face on stem cell research through the story of Dr. Kessler, the Ken and Ruth Davee Professor of Stem Cell Biology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and chair of the Department of Neurology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and his daughter, Allison, an undergraduate student at Harvard University. Dr. Kessler’s research had centered on the understanding and treatment of peripheral nerve disorders such as diabetic neuropathy, but when a skiing accident left his then-15-year-old daughter a paraplegic, he turned his research focus on using stem cells to treat spinal cord injuries.
Directed and produced by Maria Finitzo of Kartemquin Films, Terra Incognita follows the interplay between the promise of new discoveries, the controversy of modern science, and the resilience and courage of people living every day with devastating disease and injury. A fitting, groundbreaking forum for the film’s broadcast, Independent Lens is an Emmy award-winning weekly PBS series that introduces new documentaries and dramas made by independent thinkers: filmmakers who are taking creative risks, calling their own shots, and finding untold stories in unexpected places. The current season is hosted by Academy Award-nominee Terrence Howard—known for his memorable performances in films such as Crash, Hustle & Flow, and Mr. Holland’s Opus. Past seasons of Independent Lens have been presented by the talented hosts Edie Falco, Angela Bassett, Don Cheadle, and Susan Sarandon.
Independent Lens’ co-producing partner, ITVS Community, is proud to offer community education and action resources for organizations with interest in planning screenings and discussion events for Terra Incognita. Information and materials for the film are available at www.pbs.org/independentlens/stemcell/getinvolved.html. In September 2007, Terra Incognita screened for its world premiere at the DOCNZ International Documentary Film Festival in New Zealand, where it was honored with special mention. The film also screened at the Chicago International Film Festival, the Denver International Film Festival, and the prestigious IDFA festival in Amsterdam in 2007. Among other honors, it recently won an “Award of Excellence” Accolade in the feature independent documentary category. Independent Lens is broadcast on PBS stations on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. Check your local listings for more details.
Posted January 3, 2008