Notes from Mokihana
Several months ago, maybe a year ago, I received an email from Kimberly Shaw saying she had gotten my name from Susie Collins from The Canary Report. Kimberly was in the early stages of assembling a dream to create a video documentary about MCS, an illness she lives with as well. She was writing to ask if I'd be interested in being interviewed. I remember asking her to read our blogs to get an idea of what our story (ies) are, and then we'd chat, again.
Kimberly Shaw has moved forward with that dream of filming a documentary, and has read our blogs. This 'adventurous canary' has travelled and met many who live with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and is coming to visit Pete and JOTS and me this coming Tuesday for lunch and a bit of chatting. She has given me permission to republish the following article as an ANGLE on MCS, originally appearing on The Canary Report.
Kimberly Shaw maintains a contributing blog on The Canary Report and also has her own blog Adventurous Canary. Mahalo Kimberly for this insight into your transofrmative art.
MAKING A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT MCS IS DIFFICULT, INSPIRING
By Kimberly Shaw
At a recent film festival someone asked me,”What it is like to make a documentary about MCS while having MCS?” At the time I just expressed it was DIFFICULT! Making a film is a challenge to begin with then add into that the need for a fragrance-free chemical-free film crew, travel (and the stresses involved with traveling with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity!), equipment that will not bother people with sensitivities, concern about protecting and keeping safe the people we are interviewing and then planning how to keep myself safe. It is difficult!
Later, I thought more about the question. Yes, it is difficult, but worthwhile endeavors tend to be challenging. I started this filmmaking journey out of passion: a passion to have people educated and informed about MCS, a passion to have people with MCS heard, and a passion to have the change begin with us. I thought, “I may not be able to do much for those with MCS, but I can do this!”
As it turns out, though, making a documentary about MCS has been one of the greatest learning and growing experiences of my life. I used to think I knew a lot about MCS, but every time I interview someone with MCS, I learn something new. Sometimes the information coming at me is overwhelming. I wish I could do a ten-part series rather than try to convey what needs to be conveyed in one documentary.
With each person with MCS I meet, I am reminded about what is important: clean air, pure water, natural organic food, a safe place to live, community and love. The MCS community is amazing! If you are having a tough day you can always find a MCS friend on Facebook or The Canary Report. We are no longer alone and isolated! We may struggle to have a safe place to live, but we always have a home online with others who understand.
In the process of making the film, I have discovered that people without MCS are interested in learning about MCS. Most people can relate in some small way. They might have a relative or someone they work with who gets headaches from perfume or they know of someone who cannot be around new carpet. They are curious! They are ready to be educated!
Making a documentary about MCS is very inspiring. The people I have met with MCS are strong, talented, amazing people. Everyday is a battle and they are winning (well, most of the time, we all have our bad days!). It reminds me of how far I have come in my journey and that there is always hope. I used to hardly be able to leave the house and now I am traveling and making a documentary!
Next time someone asks me about making a film on MCS while having MCS, I think I will smile and say, “It has been one of the greatest blessings of my life!” However, if they ask me what it is like to attend a film festival with MCS, I will reply, “Difficult!”
Update on the documentary:
We are hoping to finish all the interviews by the end of this summer and have editing done by late October. If you live in any of the following places, have MCS and are willing to be interviewed, please contact me: New Mexico, Colorado, Florida, Texas, Seattle, Washington state, Arizona, Maui (or nearby island), California (especially southern CA) or Alaska.