Documentary Film Screening - "Unrest": Women, Resilience and the Disease Medicine Forgot

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 -
3:00pm to 5:00pm EDT
Philanthropy New York, 1500 Broadway, 7th Floor, NYC
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Join us for a screening and panel discussion of the documentary film Unrest, which exposes deep flaws in the U.S. healthcare system in its treatment of patients afflicted with rare, orphaned diseases. Using her personal experience with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Jennifer Brea, a young African American woman with a bright future as a Harvard Ph.D. student, provides an intimate story of her struggle with the disease and with medical providers. She also documents the personal stories of four other families.

Unrest tells the first-person story of Jennifer and her husband, Omar, newlyweds grappling with how to live in the face of a lifelong illness. But it is also a global story about an international community of patients with a serious, life-altering illness — millions suffering invisibly, ignored by medicine and science because of sexism, ignorance, and bias. Ultimately, Unrest is about love, compassion, and resilience in the face of loss. What do we owe to each other as humans? How do we treat those with illnesses we don’t yet understand? How do we empower the most vulnerable among us to connect, organize, and find community?

The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2017, where it won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing. It will go on to screen at South by Southwest in Austin, CPH:DOX in Copenhagen, Hot Docs in Toronto, and other festivals around the globe, followed by a robust series of community screenings and a theatrical release. In early 2018, Unrest will be broadcast on PBS’s flagship showcase of documentary films, Independent Lens.

Presented by Philanthropy New York’s Health Working Group, we will screen the film, followed by a brief Q&A with Jennifer Brea – the film maker and one of the subjects of the film—to discuss the film’s examination of gender misdiagnosis, how under-resourced research is for orphan diseases, and the need for empathy and respect for patient and caregiver experiences.

  • How little the medical community understands chronic illnesses/orphan diseases; and their response to this lack of understanding
  • How the medical community treats women afflicted with a chronic fatigue syndrome, which could easily represent any chronic disease
  • The role of philanthropy to influence leaders in health policy to support research funding for orphan diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome, and other rare/orphan diseases


Designed for

All interested funders.


2:45 - 3:00 PM  Check-in
3:00 - 5:00 PM  Program

Registration is required by September 19th.

Please email with any questions.

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