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Documentary on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Gains International Audience

  [ 25 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • March 6, 2001

I Remember Me, a film by Kim A. Snyder will be showing at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Friday, March 9 at 12pm and Saturday, March 10 11am. Acclaimed by critics as “A compelling documentary that combines heartbreaking and soul-stirring personal stories with investigative reporting about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” the documentary has already won several awards, including Best Documentary at the Denver Film Festival.

I Remember Me is the first full-length documentary to explore the controversial and mysterious history of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, an illness that, according to the CDC, is now forty times greater in prevalence than previously estimated. Once dismissed as Yuppie Flu, this mysterious syndrome, for which there is not yet a universally acknowledged cause or cure, has prompted fierce debate within the medical community.

“How do you come to know fact?” the filmmaker asks. Without scientific proof, she concludes “you’re left with personal anecdote”. So Snyder sets off on a four year journey to investigate. Through the poignant testimonies of dozens of individuals - including film director Blake Edwards (Pink Panther, 10), and Olympic gold Medalist and Women’s World Cup Soccer star Michelle Akers, whose brilliant career was recently cut short by the illness. Their stories are set to the evocative music of legendary jazz musician Keith Jarrett sidelined by the illness for the past four years. A chilling human drama unfolds which continues to baffle scientists worldwide.

In her search for answers, Snyder unearths clusters of the illness dating back to 1936. Residents of a sleepy Florida gulf coast town are united forty years later to reflect on the illness that devastated hundreds of folks in 1956 and was never diagnosed. We hear strikingly similar accounts from local doctors in Incline Village, Nevada, the site of the original Lake Tahoe cluster, and Lydonville, New York, a rural upstate town where more than 200 people became ill in the mid-80’s.

The story builds to an emotional climax as Steven, the severely disabled Connecticut teen, attempts to make his high school graduation by way of ambulance and gurney. More than an account of an epidemic unfolding, I Remember Me speaks to the universal themes of loss, human perseverance, and our difficulties in grappling with uncertainty.

For people wishing to attend screenings in Santa Barbara, call the Santa Barbara International Film Festival at 917-940-9745 or 805-963-4408.

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