Melissa Swanson has joined the campaign to help bring the independent film Invisible to the big screen. As part of her commitment, Melissa interviewed filmmaker Nick Demos and shares that interview with us here.
Desperate to help his mother fight her symptoms, filmmaker Nick Demos meets a young athlete, a human rights advocate, and a struggling migrant – all in different stages of the often-debilitating pain syndrome, Fibromyalgia.
Invisible tells the often ignored stories of people suffering from a syndrome that many still believe doesn’t exist. The film also exposes the fight with insurance and drug companies for proper treatment and how access to holistic health and education is determined by class and money. Through his journey to understand Fibromyalgia better as a way of helping his mother better, filmmaker Nick Demos finally addresses his own suspicions about having the syndrome himself.
What was your inspiration for making this film?
The film’s original inspiration came from Megan Densmore, one of our subjects in the film. She has had Fibromyalgia since she was a teen and had the idea to create the film. She is a close friend to our lead producer, Pallavi, who loved the idea and then approached me. What Pallavi didn’t know is that my mother suffers with Fibromyalgia. I was immediately interested in directing the project.
What does the title Invisible mean to you?
It is two-fold. Fibromyalgia is an invisible syndrome. You literally cannot tell if someone is suffering from it. On the outside, people with the syndrome look normal, but internally they are in great pain. Additionally, the Fibromyalgia community is invisible. Between 8 and 10 million Americans suffer from this, but most do so in hiding.
How did you conduct research about fibromyalgia and those living with it?
We started with people we knew like Megan and my mother, and then we reached out to the community from there. I have also met with rheumatologists, pain specialists, nutritionists and both Western and holistic doctors. Plus, tons of reading, watching any video I can get my hands on and interviewing hundreds of people.
We know that fibromyalgia does not discriminate. What diversity do you show in the film?
We are profiling people ranging in age from late 20s to late 60s, from different ethnicities, sexual orientations and genders.
Can you tell us a little about the plot? The characters?
The film has become quite personal. The audience will follow my search for answers to help my mother. Along the way, I meet a young athlete, an immigrant, and a human rights advocate among others.
How will the film be distributed?
We are not yet certain. Right now, we are looking at completing the film. That said, if you go on to our website at www.invisible-film.com, we have an online form that people can fill out to help us show interest for the film in your community. The more people and places that show interest, the more likely we are to get distribution.
Who is the film’s audience?
First and foremost, the Fibromyalgia community and their loved ones. Beyond that, we specifically hope medical professionals will view the film as education to help people with Fibromyalgia. And finally, more of the world at large. Our hope is to take this invisible syndrome to the visible, so that people can understand and have more compassion for those suffering.
What message do you want the audience to have after seeing the film?
I hope that it gets people talking about Fibromyalgia. I hope that it advocates for those afflicted to get the best care possible. And I hope that it opens minds about the syndrome.
What has been the most important thing you have learned while making this film?
Oh, wow! There are so many. I think that Fibromyalgia is so difficult to pin down because it manifests itself differently in people. And there is no one way to treat it either, consequently.
How can others help the film, Invisible?
Donations are always needed. I want to thank everyone who has donated! This film has made it this far basically all on donations. $5, $10, or $20,000, would all be helpful! Also, going on to our website and filling out an interest form as I mentioned earlier would be of great help. And, of course following us on social media.
Create it. Live it. Be it.
Melissa Swanson is a chronic pain patient, advocate, and author of Ravyn’s Doll: How to Explain Fibromyalgia to Your Child. Through her Facebook page, she offers positive encouragement, medical information, resources, and support to 16,000+ fibromyalgia and chronic pain patients. In addition to her own blog, Melissa has been published in "Living Well with Fibromyalgia" and the NFMCPA "Advocate Voice." She's a graduate of the 2014 Class of Leaders Against Pain Scholarship Training sponsored by the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association and a member of the Leaders Against Pain Action Network.
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