KAVARY KAUL on Making BACK WALKING FORWARD – Jennifer Merin interviews

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Filmmaker Kavery Kaul’s documentary, Back Walking Forward, presents the story of Eric, who survived a paralyzing brain injury at age 19 and, now, at age 33 is, with the full support of his loving parents and brother, still struggling to learn independent functions that we all take for granted. Eric is a charming, funny and charismatic central character. His family’s love and loyalty are inspiring, as is his doctor’s wisdom.

Filmmaker Kaul’s cinema verite coverage is exemplary. She takes us into Eric’s bedroom, doctor’s office and physical therapy sessions in a swimming pool. Thoroughly respectful in her intimate approach, she captures and reveals Eric’s wisdom, longings and, most surprising, keen sense of humor.

Back Walking Forward investigates the nature of brain injury and how it causes alternative perceptions and behaviors. It teaches all of us that recovery from brain injury is possible and that, if we approach them without social prejudices, we can learn a great deal about the human spirit and mental capacity from people whose physical injuries and traumas have caused their brains to function differently. Watching Eric re-learn how to walk and see how he puts thoughts together is fascinating and inspiring
It is important that Back Walking Forward be seen by medical personnel, insurance company policy-makers and personnel, relatives of brain injured people and anyone who is even remotely connected to a person who has sustained a brain injury, no matter how severe. Continue reading on CINEMA CITIZEN.

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and About.com. She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).