Imagine not being able to move because everything around you is spinning so badly you can't tell if you are standing or lying down. Try to get through a day, a week or a month with a continual, high-pitched ringing in your ear, or worse yet, losing your hearing altogether. Picture yourself walking down the street or driving a car, then suddenly collapsing. Envision losing your job or getting divorced because you are unable to participate in the day-to-day activities of your life.
Would you be able to go through this without a support system because your friends, colleagues and loved ones don't understand what it is like to live with the chronic, incurable and debilitating illness known as Meniere’s (men-years) Disease? Meniere's is an inner ear disorder that significantly impairs daily living through debilitating bouts of vertigo, tinnitus, hyperacusis, ear pressure and hearing loss — leaving sufferers feeling alone and abandoned.Unheard: The Ears of Meniere’s documentary examines this devastating condition, finally giving a voice to millions.
Often, as is the case with many 'invisible' illnesses, people can't understand why someone who looks healthy can be so incapacitated. Because of the lack of awareness and understanding of Meniere’s, patients are thrust into the role of educator — they must teach themselves, their family, and sometimes even their health care professionals about the disorder and how it impacts them. Unheard: The Ears of Meniere’s is here to help.
The film will feature in-depth, dynamic stories told directly from Meniere’s sufferers, including celebrated musician Huey Lewis and author-tech evangelist Guy Kawasaki. Famed painter Vincent Van Gogh will also be highlighted as well. In a 1990 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a team of doctors corrected Van Gogh’s misdiagnosis of epilepsy and attributed his "attacks” to Meniere's! Also, noted Neurotologists Dr. Sujana Chandrasekhar and Dr. Anil Lalwani will provide the most up-to-date medical information on the condition, current research and what still needs to be done.
Unheard: The Ears of Meniere’s will go beyond just informing the public of this incapacitating disease; it will also use distinctive audio and visual effects to simulate the various symptoms being discussed. The spontaneous spins of vertigo, roaring sounds of tinnitus, excessively loud distortion of hyperacusis and dramatic hearing loss will be directly experienced by the audience, thus creating more understanding of the disease and empathy for those diagnosed. This all-encompassing overview of Meniere’s will be an extremely enlightening representation of a devastating medical condition that few are aware of.
The producer of Unheard:The Ears of Meniere’s, a veteran film and television executive, was diagnosed with Meniere’s seven years ago and is committed to developing a thoughtful documentary that will inform, entertain and inspire others.
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The room spins violently. The earth disappears from under your feet. A horrific buzzing fills your ears as painful pressure builds in your head. It comes out of nowhere, like a thief in the night stealing your health. Life changes forever. But how? Why?
A startling secret, hiding in plain sight, Meniere's Disease silently robs thousands of their hearing and balance along with the ability to maintain their social and professional lives, forcing them into a world of unjust compromise. You can't see it, and they can't explain it.
Unheard: The Ears of Meniere's documentary film brings this mysterious syndrome into the public eye, exploring the enigmatic condition that has plagued many -- including painter Vincent van Gogh, astronaut Alan Shepard and most recently, musician Huey Lewis, actress Kristin Chenoweth and author Guy Kawasaki -- yet hasn't fully reached the public consciousness. The film pieces together a complicated puzzle of what is keeping people in the dark in matters of their own health. With creative and precise camera work, it pulls the audience inside the victims' heads, simulating their symptoms, so viewers directly experience how it physically debilitates them.
Follow the personal journeys of Lewis, Kawasaki, Van Gogh, and others as they go on a complex investigation for answers that shine a light on a disabling disease that has remained unheard for far too long.
Janine McGoldrick - Producer/Co-Director
Janine is a veteran entertainment executive who developed tactical promotional campaigns for film, television, and home entertainment. Most notably, as SVP at the independent film company Cohen Media Group (CMG), she led the awards campaign for the Academy Award® winning film The Salesman. At CMG, she worked closely with the CEO, Marketing, Distribution, and Acquisition teams to provide counsel on release schedules, festival campaigns, and films targeted for procurement.
Previously, Janine worked at HBO supervising publicity for the Consumer Marketing, Global Licensing, and Home Entertainment divisions. A gifted project manager, McGoldrick has worked with numerous studios, including Universal Pictures, Artisan Entertainment, Lionsgate, BBC, Hart-Sharp, New Line, and the NY International Children’s Film Festival, to help launch some of the most exciting releases in entertainment. She is a member of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Emmys) and NY Women in Film & Television.
Janine was diagnosed with Meniere’s seven years ago.
Jill Salvino - Director
Jill Salvino is an accomplished commercial director and storyteller who has collected over 200 industry awards, including an Emmy, and directed hundreds of commercials and long-form content.
After achieving a successful career in advertising and commercial film directing, Ms. Salvino jumped the fence and began writing and directing for film. Her recent feature LGBT Documentary debut Between the Shades put faces to the letters and examined the immense power of labels and the transcendence of love.
The film was honored at dozens of film festivals and was distributed by Passion River Films. It can currently be streamed on iTunes, Google, and Amazon and is presently licensed in over 300 schools, libraries, and on Kanopy educational screening service in perpetuity.
Jill has also directed four film shorts: Taking it for Granted (Best Drama, NYC’s Downtown Film Festival); The Sonnet Project #74 & #153, presented by the New York Shakespeare Exchange; and Lies People Tell (chosen by the New York Women in Film and Television as one of their Top Short Films of the Year). Jill is a member of Promax, long-standing chair of the Telly Silver Counsel, and a member of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and New York Women in Film and Television.
Matt Seigel – Cinematographer
Clio Award® winning director of photography Matt Siegel designs, composes, and lights for commercials, feature films, and documentaries. As a feature film camera operator, he has worked on The Matrix: Reloaded, Master and Commander, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Matt has extensive industry experience as a 2nd Unit DP and Camera Operator on episodic television, including the WB series Everwood, the CBS drama Joan of Arcadia, the Jerry Bruckheimer series Just Legal, and the CBS series The Mentalist.
His commercial clients include Google, Toyota, Ford, SONY, Audi, MasterCard, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola, with multi-platform branding campaigns filmed for Bayer, Honda, CVS, Timberland, The Smithsonian Institute, and the US Army. His work has won international recognition, including ADDY, TELE, Cannes’ Golden Lion, and Cable ACE awards.