(Interview) Present and Unaccounted For: Black Women in Medicine

BlogHer Original Post


Still from Present and Unaccounted For

BH: You have raised quite a bit of money to produce this film, but that you still need funds to complete it. Can you explain what the reaction has been like and what hurdles you face?

It is always difficult raising money for voices that are not heard. There are very few projects that paint a positive picture of the African American culture. Perhaps if this was a documentary about some negative aspect of African American culture the financing would have come differently.

Filming, even with all our great technology, is a very expensive process. We filmed open heart surgery in Washington, kidney transplant in Delaware. These were not low-budget captures. When we filmed Yale Medical School graduation it was a three camera shoot. Also, having so many locations elevates this project to a major undertaking.

Another major factor is packaging the film so that the right people understand the value of the images in media and how this film can positively influence the younger generation. These women’s stories have value, not just as part of the canon of African American achievers, but because they have made significant contributions to the science of medicine—and this affects us all.

Films are a process, they go through different phases. As the film has gone through these different phases, we have grown. For example, in our original treatment the film did not end with the young women graduating from medical school. This was a change that happened in a stage of growth later on. Even though this increased the budget for the film, it gave the film a more powerful presence. Seeing this young women graduating is priceless.

BH: What's next? When will production wrap up? And when and where is the documentary scheduled to be shown?

The next phase is post production. We need to raise $200,000 for the total completion of the film. After post-production we also need financial support for the national education tour.

Post production should begin in July and be finished by November. After completion, we look forward to a possible airing by APT (American Public Television) in 2014.

To help us in our endeavor to complete this film, please go to the URU The Right to Be website to make a donation. Big, small or in between, anything you contribute will move us closer to our goal. I always say it takes a whole village to raise a child and by working together, I know that we can raise the finishing funds for the film. This is an important and timely work that will change belief systems by inspiring, educating and demonstrating the triumph of the human spirit.

News and Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs at HapaMama and A Year (Almost) Without Shopping.


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