[Editor's Note: Project of the Month is presented in partnership with Blackmagic Design, one of the world's leading innovators and manufacturers of creative video technology.]
Making a film is inherently personal, but for Shannon Cohn, her latest documentary is especially so. The director and producer of "Endo What?," she's lived with endometriosis, the disease that serves as the film's focus. Putting others with personal ties to endometriosis at the forefront, Cohn hopes that "Endo What?" can put relatable faces to an issue that some global estimates say affects a tenth of women worldwide.
The film completed a successful Indiegogo campaign a week before Christmas. As possible evidence that the community surrounding the disease is growing stronger, Indiewire's readers named it both Project of the Week and the overall December Project of the Month (for which the prize was a Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 12 license).
Cohn spoke to us via email about the state of the project and its greater context in the area of women's health.
What's next for the project?
We're aiming for a March release date and our distribution plans are a bit unique. The project is more than just a film, it's an educational tool for women and the medical community. We'll be coordinating a worldwide tour of community-based special screenings and offer the film on our website. We're partnering with individuals and organizations to donate copies to public libraries and school nurses. Beyond that, we'll be screening at medical conferences and also partnering with organizations to develop educational packets catered to various groups — i.e. teens, pediatricians, surgeons, etc. It's an ambitious plan, but we have a tremendous community behind us to help make it happen.
What are the biggest challenges for the project?
The biggest challenge is to reverse the negative effects of decades of misinformation and societal taboos surrounding the disease and below-the-waist health issues for women. However, there's a huge movement underway of girls and women speaking openly about their periods, their bodies and their sexuality. All of this bodes well not only for the future of endometriosis, but women's health, in general.
What are your goals?
We want to blow the lid off the status quo where endometriosis is concerned. We want earlier diagnosis & intervention, better treatment options, more informed doctors, motivated lawmakers behind us who fight for more research funding and increased insurance coverage. We want women to keep their fertility. We want to ultimately help find a cure.
What do you wish someone had told you before you started?
I wish we had documented our production earlier on social media to bring the community along for the ride. We've had some crazy filming moments and met amazing, inspiring people. We're starting to do more of that now. We're having a lot of fun while also engaging the community.
Project of the Month: Blackmagic Design will award Indiewire's Project of the Month winners (November, December, January) with one (1) Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 12 License each. DaVinci Resolve 12 combines professional non-linear video editing with the world’s most advanced color corrector so now you can edit, color correct, finish and deliver all from one system.
Project of the Year: Blackmagic Design will award Indiewire's Project of the Year winner (announced in January) with one (1) Blackmagic URSA Mini 4k, the world’s first high end digital film camera designed to revolutionize workflow on set.
For more information about Blackmagic please visit: https://www.blackmagicdesign.com