Lindenwood Film Series hosts personal documentarian

Filmmaker Dana Weidman presents her film at Lindenwood University on Thursday, Nov. 2.
Photo by Mitchell Kraus

MITCHELL KRAUS | Reporter

New York-based filmmaker Dana Weidman presented her film “Nobody’s Perfect” to Lindenwood students on Wednesday.

The screening was a part of the Lindenwood Film Series, a semiweekly event held at 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Library and Academic Resources Center Theatre. Unlike most of the free movies, this one was accompanied by the film’s creator who gave opening comments before the screening.

Weidman said “Nobody’s Perfect” is a very personal film for her, as it explores a genetic mutation that runs in her family.  

“Cardiomyopathy is heart muscle disease.” said Weidman’s voice-over in the film. “In our family, the left ventricle of the heart becomes dilated, or enlarged, and it does not pump blood as effectively [as it should].”

Weidman explained that her family was first alerted to the condition when her cousin, Lisa Berger, passed away unexpectedly from heart failure in 1983. Five years later, her younger brother was hospitalized with similar symptoms.

After most of her extended family underwent testing for dilated ventricles, they had confirmation that the condition was genetic.

Weidman is a media professional who now works as a professor and Chair of the Communications and Media Arts Program at Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie, New York. She knew that she wanted to make a film about her experience. That is when she was invited to donate DNA for a genetic research study in Colorado.

“I was talking to my friend about this study, and she was like, ‘There’s your movie,’” Weidman said.

Dana Weidman explains how she found an editor for her project at the Film Series event on Thursday. Nov. 2.
Photo by Mitchell Kraus

Weidman encountered some challenges when filming.

“First, obviously, I had no B-roll because they are very picky when you are filming in a medical setting,” Weidman said.

She explained that some hospitals had a member of their public relations staff follow her crew around to control the footage.

“At one point we had a PR person jump in front of the camera like this,” said Weidman, outstretching her arms to demonstrate. “She asked if the cameras were on, and we were like, ‘Uh, no.’”

Her biggest disappointment was not having access to the lab mice that would be used for the study. She explained that non-laboratory staff were not allowed to even view them, much less film.

“It was disappointing,” Weidman said.

Even though the filmmaking process was challenging, Weidman comes to terms with her condition at the end of the film.

“Now we’re coming to terms with it, but, things like the fact that my mother, who is 76 and has the disease, and looks fantastic … I think for me, last summer, when I found out I had the mutation, it almost made me happy,” Weidman said in the film.

After the screening, the gathered viewers got to participate in a Q&A with the filmmaker, who said it was one of the final stops on her tour.

The next film screening in the Lindenwood Film Series will be “La La Land” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

 

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