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PBS Buys Sundance Medical Mystery Documentary ‘Unrest’

The film premiered in Sundance's U.S. Documentary Competition section and won the special jury award for editing.



PBS has acquired the U.S. broadcast rights to the documentary “Unrest,” which premiered in the Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. Documentary Competition section. The film won the festival’s U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing.

READ MORE: ‘Unrest’ Review: A Personal Look at Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, With Powerful Results — Sundance 2017

Directed by first time filmmaker Jennifer Brea, “Unrest” tells the director’s personal story of how she was struck by a fever that left her bedridden while pursuing a PhD at Harvard. Months before her wedding, Brea became increasingly ill, ultimately losing the ability to sit in a wheelchair. After doctors tell her the illness is “all in her head,” she learns about millions of other people who are confined to their homes due to chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as ME.

“Unrest” will premiere on the PBS series Independent Lens during the first quarter of 2018, following a national theatrical distribution.

“Since I first picked up my camera and began documenting the unseen world of homebound patients, it’s been my dream to share the story of my community with a public audience,” Brea said in a statement. “I am so thrilled and humbled to bring “Unrest” to Independent Lens and have it reach the widest audience possible.”

The deal was negotiated by Lois Vossen on behalf of Independent Lens, Matt Burke of Submarine on behalf of the filmmakers, together with Abby Davis and Kevin Iwashina of Preferred Content.

READ MORE: Sundance 2017 Award Winners: ‘I Don’t Feel At Home in This World Anymore,’ ‘Dina’ and More Pick Up Grand Jury Prizes

Submarine and Preferred Content are currently in negotiations for the SVOD rights. “Unrest” will play next at the South By Southwest Film Festival in March.

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