I've been meaning to write more about this, but time-management issues have gotten in the way, and I didn't want it to go unacknowledged. So here's the official word:
Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and University of Florida Professor of Journalism John Kaplan will return to Ohio Monday, April 4th for a screening of his award-winning film, Not As I Pictured. The film will be shown at 7:00 p.m. at First Energy Auditorium, Kent State University. The screening is free and open to the public.
Professor Kaplan’s inspiring and upbeat film documents his diagnosis, treatment and remission from cancer. Never before ill, the photojournalist was used to documenting the life ordeals of others. But when diagnosed at age 48 with a potentially deadly form of lymphoma, Kaplan “turned the lens on himself” and chronicled his experience in his nationally acclaimed new film.
Although the topic is serious, Not As I Pictured is upbeat and at times even humorous, with a very positive message, and ends with Kaplan’s remission and return to health. The film has won national acclaim, with more than 20 film honors including two prestigious CINE Golden Eagle Awards and several Best Documentary film festival awards. Earlier this month, the film won Best Documentary at the Detroit Independent Film Festival, and was named Best Documentary at last autumn’s Chagrin Falls Documentary Film Festival.
"Nobody asks for cancer,” says Kaplan. “But this film, in its small way, really does help give people the courage to know they can make it to the other side—back to health and the joy of every day.”
Kaplan has launched a humanitarian effort to distribute his film free for personal use to anyone touched by cancer; his goal is to give away 10,000 copies by the end of this year. An educational kit produced in collaboration with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) accompanies the DVD, addressing the emotional side of cancer with coping and lifestyle tips for patients, caregivers and survivors. Copies can be ordered at www.NotAsIPictured.org.
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Kaplan is sharing his inspiring message with patients, survivors, support groups, and oncology professionals through film screenings and accompanying cancer coping forums nationwide. A future touring photographic exhibition is also planned.
“I’m glad to be coming back to Ohio,” Kaplan says. “Last fall we did a screening in the Cleveland area and local cancer advocacy groups are using the film in their patient education programs.
“We are confident that the film can truly help cancer patients and their families face their treatment with new courage. So many cancers are today being looked at more and more as chronic illness, rather than death sentence,” says Kaplan.
“During my treatment, we received so much unexpected help along the way, often from strangers,” he says. “By giving away the film, I’m determined to give some of that back.”
One in three of us gets cancer; that means virtually every family lives through it. Family scenes with Kaplan’s wife and children are included in the film to inspire viewers to value their own families, friendships, faith, and courage to fight.
Many well-known musicians donated music for the film soundtrack, including Michael Stipe and R.E.M., Chris Martin of Coldplay, David Bowie, will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake, Pantera, and the Cowboy Junkies.
John Kaplan is one of America’s most accomplished narrative photographers, having been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography, POY National Newspaper Photographer of the Year, the Overseas Press Club Award, two Robert F. Kennedy Awards, and the Nikon Documentary Sabbatical Grant.
Kaplan, who received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Ohio University, has been named a Fulbright Scholar and has twice been selected as a Pulitzer Prizes juror. He is the author of two books, Photo Portfolio Success, and Mom and Me.
Visit www.NotAsIPictured.org to view the film trailer, order a free copy for personal use, download a media kit, or inquire about John’s availability to speak in your community. The website also features extensive ASCO educational resource links. Although the film is free for personal use, organizations and libraries pay license fees that help support the program’s long-term humanitarian goals. Not As I Pictured has 501(c)(3) charity status and welcomes donations. To join the conversation about the film, please visit www.facebook.com/NotAsIPictured