On a cold night in January while I was visiting NYC, I ventured out to the 92YTribeca for the screening of The Accidental Advocate co-hosted by us at Working Films, and our good friends at Chicken & Egg Pictures. 92YTribeca is a new arts and entertainment venue whose motto is, “Don’t just watch: Participate.” I can get down with that.
Before the film got started Judith, the Co-Founder of Working Films and Chicken & Egg, made an introduction and invited everyone to stay afterwards for a Q&A with two of the filmmakers.
The Accidental Advocate follows Claude Gerstle and his daughter Jessica as they explore the complicated politics of stem cell research. Claude, a surgeon and athlete, became paralyzed from the neck down after a tragic bicycle accident. The movie brought me into their lives and their wonderfully supportive relationship, ultimately sharing how personal experiences can lead people down the path of becoming a change maker. Instead of choosing to give up and accept the new circumstances in the face of a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, Claude and Jessica decided to research their options, talking with scientists, politicians, and religious leaders in search of hope.
The film was as informative as it was inspiring – before I sat down, I knew almost nothing about stem cell research. Scientists think that stems cells could be the key to discovering cures for things such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis and many other issues.
When the lights came up, Jessica, who wasn’t able to be there that night, sent a call to action to which the audience responded personally and politically in a way that was in line with the mood of the film. You can watch the video below to see a glimpse of the conversation.
The film is now playing in select cities across the country, so be sure to see it, and then check out Claude’s blog that he is maintaining on the films’ website.