Local writer, photographer anod artist Tasra Dawson (pronounced TOZ-ra) has embarked on a feature documentary titled, “Invisible Illness.”
The film showcases the stories of people who suffer from chronic illnesses, which have no overtly visible manifestations. These illnesses are labeled “invisible” because not only do they not show up in the traditional way, those who suffer from them often feel like they are not “seen.”
“People who live with invisible illnesses feel isolated and alone,” says Tasra. “When dealing with the general population, there’s a disconnect.”
As one interviewee and Seattle resident in the film shares, it becomes exhausting having to always explain your situation. Sometimes you wish you had visible signs just so people could see and know.
Tasra explains, “This was a film that I desperately needed during the first few years after [suffering an] accident.”
Five years ago she stepped off a curb into a crosswalk and was hit by a 2-ton vehicle.
“I had no way of knowing that my life would never be the same. Although I landed on my feet, a distinctly different life is inevitable after a vehicle crashes into you. The impact threw me 6 feet in the air.
“Even now, after five years, visits to over 50 specialists, that included hundreds of medical tests, 500 appointments, countless pills and failed treatments, being poked and prodded like a lab rat, I still carry the same pain that began that day.
“One thousand nine hundred seventy-five days of pain… so far. That’s just one of the consequences of a single moment of impact. The other consequences came later, from medical ‘care’ and treatments.
“Most of my injuries and illnesses are ‘invisible’ and that changes everything about diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
“To know that I was not alone, that it was okay and even necessary to challenge my doctors and fight for better answers; as well as exploring alternative forms of medicine and healing. We plan to address all of these issues in the film.”
Tasra is taking on this project along with her husband, Ron Dawson, whom she describes as the real filmmaker of the family. “I’ve never considered myself a filmmaker, that’s my husband’s role. But this was a film I knew had to be made.”
Shooting began last summer, and since that time the couple has produced a series of short video vignettes, owhich will continue up to the film’s final release this summer.
You can see the trailer, the vignettes, and learn more about the film at InvisibleIllnessFilm.com
Tasra and Ron are just ending a Kickstarter campaign and although it does not appear that it will reach its $12,000 funding goal, it did relatively well with 71 backers.
Ron says of funding efforts, “If we do not reach our campaign goal, we’re leaning towards making a series of short films (in the 20-minute range) as opposed to one long feature. Even at the beginning of the campaign we had some colleagues suggest that to us.
“Short films are more easily consumed by viewers, are in demand by content sites, and will allow us to release the content over a period of time that fits a longer schedule.
“We will continue to market the film and make the connections in the chronic illness community that we’ve begun during the campaign. We believe this message is too important and we already have so much material we’ve already shot.
“We’re also contemplating doing a smaller campaign to help us fund that goal. But whether or not we hit it, we can still manage the short film series without the funding.”
My Edmonds News readers can reach Ron Dawson with questions about their efforts at [email protected].