It's #TimeForUnrest

18:00

Jennifer is lying in bed looking at the camera, with several electrodes placed around her forehead.

The award winning documentary film Unrest is here.

Jennifer Brea is an active Harvard PhD student about to marry the love of her life when suddenly her body starts failing her. Hoping to shed light on her strange symptoms, Jennifer grabs a camera and films the darkest moments unfolding before her eyes as she is derailed by M.E. (commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), a mysterious illness some still believe is “all in your head.”

I first learnt about Unrest just before it was premiered in the documentary competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, where it won a Special Jury Prize for editing. After the premier, I saw a steady influx of glowing reviews, and how well the film was received. From then, I tried to follow the development of the film on social media. I knew this film was going to be different; an accurate and intimate portrayal of M.E. It has since been screened at several other film festivals, where it has won three more awards.

Photograph of an article in the InterAction magazine. Jennifer is sat in her electric wheelchair on stage at the TED Summit

A few months later, I read an article about Jennifer in the Spring 2017 (Issue 95) of the InterAction Magazine by Action for M.E (opens in new window)It was all about her bringing visibility to the M.E community via a TED Talk. Immediately, I had to find and watch that TED talk.


Her TED Talk moved me in such a way. I felt particularly pained when she said "I know ballet dancers who can't dance, accountants who can't add, medical students who never became doctors. It doesn't matter what you once were; you can't do it anymore." She goes on to discuss sexism, the history of unexplainable diseases and what harm this does. I've embedded the video below so you can watch the video for yourself. 

Jen also co-founded the #MEAction Network (opens in new window), who do incredible awareness and health equality work, including the #MillionsMissing global movement that happens around May 12th (International ME/CFS Awareness day).



Last week, on September 22nd, Unrest began screening in US theatres. It is coming to UK theatres from October 20th. There is accompanying Virtual Reality installation inspired by the film, using the Oculus Rift headsets and touch controllers!

I've bought my ticket for the Bristol screening, and hopefully it will be a 'better day' as I really don't want to miss out. Jen will be doing Q&A's after the screening (no idea if this will be via Skype or actually live!) but I really can't wait to take part and listen.



#TimeForUnrest is a global campaign to grow and strengthen the global movement for equal recognition, eduction, research and funding for M.E. The hashtag is being used across social media by the community of patients, carers and friends to share their own stories of M.E. You can learn more by going to Time For Unrest (opens in new window).  I am hoping to share more of my story in the future.

Here's the official trailer!!


You can find a screening near you (opens in new window). I believe that the film will eventually be available via DVD or a streaming service to those who cannot go, or get to a screening.

"I’m hoping that this film can end the stigma, and also massively grow the scientific field. It’s really through science that we’re going to be able to find out what causes this, and ultimately how to cure this.” – Jennifer Brea

Unrest Facebook Page (opens in new window)
Unrest Twitter Profile (opens in new window)
Unrest Instagram (opens in new window)
Jen's Instagram (opens in new window)



Let me know your thoughts about the film, or about Jen's work in the comments below. I'd love to hear what you have to say!

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