Pac Rim Deep Impact Film Festival


Film Festival

Film Schedule & Synopsis

CDS Productions

Monday, 8:30 am – 9:45 am

Families with Autism: Let Them Stand Tall

A video celebration of the experiences of four families whose children have autism spectrum disorders. The video showcases teachers, providers, and services that are making a difference in the lives of these families and their children.

Directed by: Sara Banks
(55 min) USA

Photo: Manulani Meyer

A Pedagogy of Aloha, A Dialogue with Dr. Manulani Alulii Meyer

(20 min) USA


Capturing Grace

Monday, 9:45 am – 11:00 am (64 min) USA, 2014

Capturing Grace

A story about two realms. One is occupied by some of the most acclaimed modern dancers in the world. The other is inhabited by a group of people with Parkinson's disease. This film is about what happens when those worlds intersect.

Photo: David Iverson

Directed By: David Iverson

A note from the director

For me, it's also a personal story. I was diagnosed with Parkinson's eight years ago, the third member of my family to receive that news. A few years after my diagnosis, my colleagues at Kikim Media and I made a film about Parkinson's for the PBS Frontline series called My Father, My Brother and Me . It was during that production that I first learned about the Mark Morris Dance Group's unique partnership with people with Parkinson's from the Brooklyn Parkinson Group. Later, I did a short profile of the program for the PBS NewsHour, but I've always felt there was a deeper story to be told.  This is a film about rediscovery, the rediscovery of a lighter step and the sweetness of motion. And it's a story about a remarkable community of dancers—some professional, some no—but all coming together to move in space...and in doing so, rediscovering grace. And it is in that rediscovery that each becomes whole.

About The Director

His other recent film credits include the 2012 film "The Memory Be Green" which documented the creation of a new play directed by Jonathan Moscone and inspired by the story of his father, the late San Francisco Mayor George Moscone. Iverson was also the writer, narrator and co-producer of the 1999 national Emmy award winning PBS documentary "The 30 Second Candidate."

As a producer/writer and executive producer, Iverson's awards include a national Emmy Award, the Alfred I. dupont Columbia Award, the Gabriel Award, the New York Film Festival Gold and Silver Awards, the Chicago Film Festival Gold Hugo, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Gold Award, and four Chicago Regional Emmy awards.

Iverson is a graduate of Stanford University and received his MS in Telecommunications from Indiana University. He has worked in public broadcasting for over 30 years. In addition to his work on KQED public radio's Forum program, Dave works as a television correspondent, producer and writer.


Monday, 11:00 am – 12:15 pm (70 min) Ethiopia. 2014

Photo: Zemene with Her Father

(70 min) Ethiopia

A feature documentary about a young Ethiopian girl, Zemenework (Zemene), who from an early age was afflicted by a rare form of Kyphosis, a curving of the spine causing hunchback and spinal cord compression. Living in a remote village with this disease, Zemene faced potentially life-threatening illnesses. Set in the beautiful countryside of Ethiopia, the film shows how a brave but malnourished Zemene travels to the city of Gondar. It’s there that she crosses paths with Dr. Rick Hodes, an internist specializing in spinal conditions, whose life’s work compels him to help people in need.

Photo: Melissa Donovan

Directed by: Melissa Donovan

Melissa Donovan has worked in the commercial, independent and documentary world as a cinematographer for over 15 years, having earned a Kodak Cinematography Award and recently having earned Best Cinematography and Best Documentary Awards from various film festivals.

Melissa also served as the Director of Photography on the Peabody Award winning documentary, Between the Folds, directed by Vanessa Gould and An Unreasonable Man, produced by Henriette Mantel and Steve Skrovan and aired on Independent Lens.  Additional credits include Director of Photography on the PBS nationally aired series, Vine Talk hosted by Stanley Tucci, including other PBS multi-camera productions, including Finding Billy Elliot, A Tale of Two Cities and Jesus and the Awakening to God-Consciousness with Deepak Chopra.

In addition, Melissa’s commercial campaign credits include work for Kmart, Stonyfield Yogurt, Herbal Essence, Oxygen Channel and the Cartoon Network.  She has also worked as Camera Operator on the feature film Lift, directed by DeMane Davis and Khari Streeter and staring Kerry Washington and on commercials for Verizon, Panasonic and Mountain Dew.  Other corporate clients include the Harvard Business School Club of New York City, Details Magazine, KPMG, AOL, the Philharmonic, John Hancock and TV Guide.

Melissa lives in New York City, where she continues her work in cinematography.  She looks forward to sharing Zemene to wider audiences throughout the world as she continues to document and raise greater awareness of social issues, which have traditionally plagued underserved worldwide populations.

TransFatty Lives

Monday, 12:45 pm – 2:00 pm (85 min) USA. 2015

Audience Award winner 2015 Tribeca Film Festival

At 30, Patrick Sean O’Brien was TransFatty, a New York City DJ, internet personality, and filmmaker. He spent his days as a beer-drinking creative force, making art films about perverts, vulnerable souls, and Howard Johnson's restaurants. Then his legs started shaking.

Defying sentimentality, TRANSFATTY LIVES takes you on an emotional rollercoaster from Patrick's wild, fun-loving days into the dark heart of ALS (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's disease). Given 2 to 5 years to live, Patrick first loses his ability to walk, then move his arms, then to swallow, and even to breathe. With the support of his bewildered friends and family Patrick braves the unthinkable and turns his camera onto himself.

As the director and star of his own documentary, Patrick films every step of his debilitating journey from first diagnosis through his current paralysis. Forcefully lacking self-pity, he captures the emotion, humor, and absurdity of real life as he makes art, gets political, falls in love, fathers a son, and fights extreme depression and paranoia.

***Audience Disclaimer: emotional film*** 

Directed by: Patrick Sean O’Brien

Trans Fatty Lives Press Kit


Monday, 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm (60 min) USA, 2014

Fixed: The Science Fiction of Human Enhancement

From botox to bionic limbs, the human body is more “upgradeable” than ever. But how much of it can we alter and still be human? What do we gain or lose in the process? Award-winning documentary, Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement, explores the social impact of human augmentation. Haunting and humorous, poignant and political, Fixed rethinks "disability" and "normalcy" by exploring technologies that promise to change our bodies and minds forever.

Photo: Regan Brasher

Directed by: Regan Brasher

Originally from Virginia, award-winnning Producer/Director Regan Brashear has been working on labor, race, youth, LGBT, and disability issues for over twenty years through documentary film, union organizing, teen theater, community forums, and grassroots activism.

Now based in Oakland, CA, Brashear is a co-founder of Making Change Media, a non-fiction film production company which produces short and long form social issue films.

Previously, Brashear served as a producer and community engagement coordinator at Open Eye Pictures, a production company in Sausalito, CA, doing community engagement for the Academy Award-shortlisted film, Under Our Skin and as co-producer for The Grove, a film about the National AIDS Memorial Grove. Both films aired across the country on PBS stations in 2011. Brashear has a BA in American Studies (Highest Honors, Phi Beta Kappa) and a MA in Social Documentation (Documentary Film) from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her interest in disability studies, which eventually led to the making of Fixed, started in 1997, after a car accident, which began an ongoing journey with fibromyalgia and chronic pain. She finished editing Fixed as a visiting filmmaker at the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes (CSPO) at Arizona State University.

No Ordinary Superhero

No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie

Monday, 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm (80 min) USA, Captioned, 2014

Starring John Maucere with Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin is here! This family drama is about a deaf actor who plays a superhero on television who looks beyond his cape to influence a deaf boy to redefine what "being normal" means. During his journey he also finds inspiration to transform himself. The movie is executive produced and directed exclusively by deaf individuals for the first time in history for a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) feature film.

Photo: Troy Kotsur

Directed By: Troy Kotsur

Troy Kotsur is a noted film director and theatre actor; he has been deaf since birth. Born and raised in the city of Mesa, Arizona he attended Mesa College, Pierce College and American River College to study acting and was an intern at KTSP-TV working as an editor, researcher and interviewer.  He went on to graduate from Gallaudet University majoring in Theater. While at Gallaudet University, he was awarded Best Actor for his role as Sepp Schmitz in The Firebugs and as Kurt Paxton in In a Room Somewhere.

Kotsur has been involved with many Deaf West shows, including the 2003 Broadway revival of Big River as Pap/The Duke. He has performed principal roles in Orphans, Medea, Equus and Sleuth with Bernard Bragg and Romeo and Juliet, Verona Circus and Mice and Men. He has traveled coast to coast in the US with the National Theater for the Deaf, as well as in Northern Ireland and South Africa.

He recently received two awards from Los Angeles Weekly and the 8th annual Artistic Director Achievement Award, Valley Theater League of California for the leading actor in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire. Nominated for his leading role in A Streetcar Named Desire by the Los Angeles Drama Circle Critics award, as well. Los Angeles Ovation has nominated him for Featured Actor in the Musical Oliver! performed at the Deaf West Theater.

Troy has directed more than 10 theatrical productions, including LA Times' Best Bet Weekend Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp at Deaf West Theatre.

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