The ALS Association Indiana Chapter and Heartland Truly Moving Pictures present 2012 Heartland Film Festival Award Winner “Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet” at AMC Castleton Square 14 on Feb. 26; event organized by Heartland volunteers affected by ALS.
Heartland volunteers Lisa Boncosky (left) and Jenni Berebitsky (right) with Piper.
Lisa Boncosky, a longtime Heartland Truly Moving Pictures volunteer, vividly remembers the first time she met Jenni Berebitsky a little more than two years ago:
“Our sons were in Montessori preschool together and we were both there for pick-up. Jenni was crying and I asked if she was okay. She told me not to worry, that these were ‘tears of joy’—she had just been approved to receive a service dog (Piper) from Indiana Canine Assistance Network.”
Jenni was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in March 2009, just after her son’s first birthday and coinciding with the completion of her Naturopathic residency. She and her husband, Jeff, decided to move from Portland, Ore. back to Indianapolis, Ind. to be closer to family.
Jenni was still able to drive when Piper first came into her life. Now she is in a power wheelchair full time and relies on friends and family to provide transportation. Lisa is one of her regular drivers.
“I started volunteering for the Heartland organization about five years ago in various ways,” explained Lisa. “One of my favorite roles is sitting on the Truly Moving Picture Award jury where we screen upcoming films and evaluate whether or not the movie meets Heartland’s criteria for inspiring and promoting positive change. I thought the jury would be a great fit for Jenni—she is one of the smartest, most insightful people I have ever met and she loves movies.”
Beyond volunteering, Jenni and Lisa are also avid Heartland Film Festival attendees, and made a point to see 2012 Award Winner “Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet” together last October.
When doctors diagnosed 19-year-old rock star Jason Becker with ALS, they said he would never make music again and that he wouldn’t live to see his 25th birthday. Twenty-two years later, without the ability to move or to speak, Jason is alive and making music with his eyes. “Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet” is a feature-length documentary film that tells the incredible story of a guitar legend who refuses to give up on his dream of being a musician despite the most incredible odds. It is a story of dreams, love, and the strength of the human spirit.
Jenni’s mom, Joyce Kleinman, suggested trying to get a screening together for The ALS Association Indiana Chapter. With a few phone calls and help from both Heartland Truly Moving Pictures and the ALS Association, they are excited to bring the film back to Indianapolis on Feb. 26, 7:00 p.m., at AMC Castleton Square 14 for a single screening. Heartland will introduce the screening and ALS Association Indiana Chapter will speak briefly after the film.
“The amazing thing about this film is the amount of depth it has,” said Jenni. “’Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet’ isn’t just about ALS. It is about using your gifts and how hard work pays off. It shows the resilience of the human spirit, a determination to embrace life, and how beautiful and nurturing families and friends can be. It raises awareness about this devastating disease, which is important, but this movie has something for everyone.”
All donations made beyond the ticket price will be split between nonprofits Heartland Truly Moving Pictures and ALS Association Indiana Chapter. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.tugg.com/events/2612. Learn more about the film at jasonbeckermovie.com.