Thursday, June 15, 2006

Filmmaker Julia Reichert’s Big Day

A quick shout out to wish filmmaker Julia Reichert Happy Birthday, and to congratulate her on getting to this day. (Okay, her birthday is June 16th, but I had to post this a day early). As some of you probably read in IndieWire or heard through others, Julia found out in January at the Sundance Film Festival that she had cancer, and her doctors advised her to leave Sundance immediately and return home for treatment. Julia had been at Sundance with her partner in life and film, Steven Bognar to premiere their documentary A Lion in the House, a four-hour long film about kids and their families struggling with cancer (filmed over eight years). Since that time, many of us have kept up with them through emails that both she and Steven have been sending out chronicling her journey. It’s been harrowing, sad, honest and lately it’s been turning for the better - much better.

I’ve known Steven and Julia for years, having first met Steven at the Atlanta Film Festival in the early 1990s. I later met Julia at the same festival, and have always found them to be among the most genuine filmmakers I’ve ever met, not to mention quite talented. When I arrived at my current gig in New York, both of them had already received Fellowships from our organization, and it made me proud to have them in our roster even if I had nothing to do with their success. Their bios, from the NVR website:

Bognar’s documentaries and short narratives have screened widely at festivals and on television. He has produced feature films, taught media production and received several fellowships. Reichert has directed and produced both fiction features and documentaries, and teaches filmmaking at Wright State University, Ohio. She co-founded the film distribution co-op New Day Films and Film Fund, the predecessor of Independent Feature Project. They have collaborated on several films, often as producers, since the mid-1990s.

A Lion in the House has been playing at several festivals, and has won numerous awards, including Best Documentary at the Nashville Film Festival. It just ended a run at the Makor Theater in New York, and it premieres on Independent Lens on PBS on June 21 and 22nd. I recommend you check it out.

Best wishes to Julia as she celebrates an important birthday!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know this is a bit unorthodox to ask, but I was wondering if you could pass along a message to Julia for me? To make a long story short, my wife has the same "gray zone lymphoma" that Julias has, and it is rare to find anyone else going through it. There is little to no information on it and I would love to be able to share information with someone who is also being treated for it. I do respect her privacy and understand if she does not want to be contacted, but I thought I would give it a try.


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