Traumatic Brain Injury Documentary Directed By David Brown

By Mikel Fair

Oregon Documentary Film Festival 2017 Session 3 Event Photos 16 David L Brown

Traumatic Brain Injury Documentary Film By David L. Brown

"Going the Distance: Journeys of Recovery" is a documentary film directed by David L. Brown is a 2017 Oregon Documentary Film Festival Official Selection. This film also won the Most Inspirational Film Award at this Film Festival Circuit event. Furthermore, our judges felt that this film shed new light on the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) experience. Our judges loved the stories about the different people and the way that their lives changed because of TBI. Above all, the film reminds us, that life is not over after a traumatic event.  Furthermore, people are learning how to live their lives to the fullest. Finally, watch video from this Traumatic Brain Injury Documentary Film.



Synopsis: "Going the Distance: Journeys of Recovery" directed by David L. Brown

Going the Distance: Journeys of Recovery, is a hour-long character-driven documentary. This film explores the dramatic but little understood phenomenon of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Called 'the Silent Epidemic,' TBI impacts 2.5 million Americans and costs American society $60 billion every year. 'Going the Distance' focuses an intimate lens on the daunting, inspiring journeys of four TBI survivors. As well as, the people who love and care for them. The film’s profiles in courage include: Jason Poole, an African-American Iraq War vet nearly killed by a roadside bomb; Kristen Collins, a nurse who was badly injured in a motorcycle accident; Jay Waller, a Yale graduate who was the victim of a savage road-rage beating; and Ian McFarland, a six-year-old who survived the auto accident that made him an orphan.

 Oregon Documentary Film Festival Promo Code


For Jason, Jay, Kristen and Ian, 'Going the Distance' involves both acceptance of an impaired new self. As well as learning to adapt to the changed person they have become. Although the individual stories and circumstances are unique. The dilemmas they face are universal and profoundly human, impacting that part of ourselves. The brain, that informs who we are and governs our personality, thoughts, feelings and perceptions. An injury to the brain is an injury to the essential self. Which is why Kristen explains all TBI survivors have to reinvent who they are. Interweaving cinema vérité scenes, interviews, home movies and stock news footage. Going the Distance, explores the physical, emotional and economic challenges of traumatic brain injury. And also the disability for these survivors as they reinvent themselves.




The documentary also explores the parallel journeys of family members and friends whose lives are dramatically altered by TBI. Most are totally unprepared to deal with a TBI survivor, and “caregiver burnout” is a huge and unacknowledged problem. The film features interviews with the characters’ professional caregivers, including physicians, psychologists and therapists. Those who provide enough scientific, medical and policy information. In order to orient the viewer without resorting to abstract terminology or overwhelming the film with data.


Framing its individual stories within the broader social context of an embattled health care system. As well as a nation coping the costs of the War on Terror. 'Going the Distance' paints a complex and compelling portrait of TBI survivors, their loved ones and communities. In spite of undeniable and enduring hardship, including life-long cognitive and emotional challenges. Each protagonist has an inspiring recovery arc. One in which they regain a significant measure of his or her pre-injury dream and envisions a new life path. Their heroic efforts model the universal struggle to shape our destinies. Hence, in their example, we may find a reflection of our best selves.



Interview With David L. Brown

Q1: Why submit to the Oregon Documentary Film Festival? “I knew there was a sizable documentary audience in Oregon. And the organizers had experience producing another festival.”

Q2: Why did you choose to tell this particular story? “I was commissioned to produce the first two-day shoot. A 24-mile cross Lake Tahoe standup paddle, a benefit for the Bob Woodruff Foundation. There I met several survivors of traumatic brain injury and was galvanized to make the film on their inspirational stories.”

Q3: Did you discover certain story elements during the production of this film that you never expected to find? “Yes, I discovered three of our four survivors after launching the project. Their stories, along with their families, were extraordinary and deeply inspiring.”

Q4: What camera(s) did you use to during the production of this film? Discuss any advantages or limitations that you may have run into, from an equipment perspective. “I used a Sony EX1 and a Sony PMX200.”


Oregon Documentary Film Festival 2017 Session 3 Event Photos 20 David L Brown


Q5: How did you fund this film? Did you use crowdfunding? Do you have pressure to recoup the production costs somehow? “Foundations, private donors, along with an IndieGoGo campaign. Producers cash help with the completion.”

Q6: What kind of audience reaction are you getting to this film? “Very positive from many works-in-progress screenings. The only caveat from the brain injury community was that our survivors were relatively fortunate. Therefore, they don't fully represent the typical TBI survivors.”

Q7: Do you have plans for a sequel or future film that you are working on? Please discuss.
no sequel. “Other projects are underway. The main doc is on a Latino poet activist and the roles of activist writers.”

Q8: Finally, you have completed a documentary film, which is a huge achievement. Do you have any advice for a future filmmaker that is about to start a documentary project? “Build and sustain trust. Also, hire the best pros you can, be patient with fundraising. Finally, surround yourself with a community of like-minded filmmakers for support.”



Mikel Fair

Mikel Fair

From 1999-2015 I worked on location in the television and film industry as a location sound mixer, production manager and field producer. I have also worked in post production as an editor, post sound mixer and composer. Today, I am the Director of Film Festival Circuit LLC, a US based company that manages international film festival events in Texas and Oregon. Our team is passionate about showcasing new independent films, videos, series episodes, screenplays and teleplays of all genres.

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