A group of doctors & scientists claim that Morgellons—a disease in which fibers grow from the skin of victims—is linked to Lyme Disease. Other doctors claim that Morgellons is nothing but a delusion, that the patients' fibers and lesions are self-inflicted. Skin Deep: The Battle Over Morgellons dives headfirst into the controversy. We follow the patients who suffer and the physicians who treat them.... with antibiotics or anti-psychotics.
Skin Deep is a journey that begins in solitude and alienation, and ends in community and public activism.
Those who claim to have Morgellons experience fatigue, joint pain, brain fog, and mysterious multi-colored fibers coming out of lesions on their skin. However, many medical professionals don’t acknowledge it as a real disease, but rather, argue that the symptoms are either self-inflicted or imaginary, that there's no infection, that Morgellons is simply a psychological disorder.
The Charles E. Holman Foundation named February 2018 the very FIRST EVER Morgellons Disease Awareness Month! Please help us celebrate by backing our project!
Documentaries are passion projects that can't get made without community support. We are raising $20,000 to fund the editing of the film. Kickstarter is all-or-nothing. If we don’t raise all $20,000, we won’t get any of it, so every dollar counts. Thank you for your support!!
Cindy Casey-Holman, The Accidental Leader
Cindy was working as a registered nurse when her Morgellons symptoms exploded. Her husband Charles became her champion and together they turned into the central force of the Morgellons community. Suddenly in 2007, Charles suffered a heart attack and died in Cindy’s arms. Now, Cindy struggles to balance her illness with her newfound role as a leader. She is determined to show the world that Morgellons is a real biological disease, or, like her husband, die trying.
Steve Feldman, MD - The Naysayer
A fun-loving dermatologist from Winston-Salem, NC, Dr. Feldman prescribes anti-psychotic medications to patients that he doesn’t always examine closely. What happens when Dr. Feldman presents his skepticism about the disease at a conference filled with true believers? A lot of chaos and emotion is what.
Ed Hu - In a Family Torn Apart
Ed left his job as a Federal Defense Attorney due to his struggle with Morgellons. Ed’s brother Brian is a doctor and is convinced Ed suffers from delusions. The film tracks Ed & Brian’s journey from alienation to healing and reconciliation.
Ginger Savely, DNP - The Pioneer
Dr. Ginger Savely has seen more Morgellons patients than any other physician on the planet. Ginger first noticed Morgellons symptoms in a subset of her Lyme Disease patients and began treating them with antibiotics until she was driven out of Austin. The hallmark of Ginger’s patient care is validation and empathy—even in the face of her patients’ bizarre behavior.
Randy Wymore, PhD - The Scientist
Dr. Wymore is a researcher and associate professor at Oklahoma State University. After meeting dozens of Morgellons Disease patients, Randy believed that he could prove the truth behind the disease in two months. It’s been ten years. And he’s still fighting.
Marianne Middelveen, MDes - The Investigator
Marianne is a veterinary microbiologist who has scientifically proven Morgellons fibers are composed of collagen and keratin; meaning the fibers are made by the body, and are not cotton or lint which is how most doctors dismiss them. Marianne has also gathered evidence proving that Morgellons is directly linked to Lyme Disease.
Ray Stricker, MD - The Physician
Dr. Stricker is a world-renowned Lyme Disease expert, and one of the first physicians to successfully treat Morgellons patients with long-term antibiotics, the same medications he prescribes for his Lyme Disease patients. And no wonder—he asserts Morgellons is Lyme Disease plus skin symptoms.
Harry Quinn-Schone, PhD - The Scholar
Harry is a medical historian investigating the claims that Morgellons is a physiological disease. More than anything, Harry advocates empathy. He knows the disease “is real”, because the effects on patients’ lives are so drastic. But what causes Morgellons, bacteria or the mind?
John Koo, MD & Tim Berger, MD - The Experts
Two giants in the field of dermatology, Dr. Koo and Dr. Berger both practice at the University of California at San Francisco. Dr. Berger thinks Morgellons a disease "spread by the internet", a kind of cyber-chondria. Dr. Koo—a psychiatrist as well as a dermatologist—is convinced anti-psychotics work better for Morgellons than antibiotics.
Phil Stenquist, PhD - The Neuropsychiatrist
Dr. Stenquist is a neuropsychiatrist and expert witness who believes that up to 16% of all medical complaints are somatoform disorders: physical symptoms created by mental causes. Like blushing or hives, the mind can manifest all manner of physical conditions says Dr. Stenquist.
PI WARE - Director
Pi Ware is an Emmy award-winning editor, a Sundance filmmaker, and a former board member of the International Documentary Association. Pi has created documentaries and narrative films for Warner Bros., Universal, Fox Searchlight, Disney and Sony Pictures Entertainment.
PATRICK BELTON - Producer
Patrick Belton is a music supervisor and DJ who has worked in the entertainment industry for over 15 years. He has built one of LA’s most prominent DJ and entertainment companies (Dubgypsy) and helped place music for some of the hottest shows on television including True Blood, Dexter, House, Men Of A Certain Age and the feature film, I Love You Phillip Morris.
LAURA STODDARD - Producer
Laura studied Human Rights and International Studies at the University of Iowa. She began her career in nonprofits in the Bay Area, where she worked on issues such as incarceration and homelessness. Laura has since moved her career in the direction of documentary production. She is currently an Associate Producer on three feature documentaries and has coordinated and field produced many projects such as CNN's Death Row Stories, The Girls of Summer feature documentary, as well as various editorial and commercial still photography campaigns.
PJ RAVAL - Cinematographer
Named one of Out Magazine's "Out 100" and FILMMAKER Magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film," PJ is an award-winning filmmaker and cinematographer whose credits include TRINIDAD (Showtime, LOGO) and BEFORE YOU KNOW IT, his latest documentary following the lives of three gay senior men, described as "a crucial new addition to the LGBT doc canon" by indieWIRE. BEFORE YOU KNOW IT screened theatrically both nationally and internationally and broadcast premiered as the season finale of AMERICA REFRAMED on PBS World. Also an accomplished cinematographer, PJ shot the Academy Award-nominated Best Documentary TROUBLE THE WATER and is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow.
SHELBY HADDEN - Co-Producer
Shelby Hadden a documentary filmmaker, writer, and crowdfunding manager whose work explores issues of gender and identity. Her films have screened at various film festivals including the Nashville Film Festival and Sidewalk Film Festival. Her current film, "Tightly Wound," is a short animated film about her personal experience with chronic pelvic pain, based on her essay that was published in BUST Magazine. She is currently a producer at the Austin-based creative agency, Bring Light & Sound, and a lecturer at Texas State University.
SAM PRICE-WALDMAN - Cinematographer
Sam Price-Waldman is a cinematographer and documentary director with a love for cinematic, verite storytelling. He has followed environmental activists in redwood trees, gold miners in Ghana, and wildland firefighting crews around the U.S. His films have screened on PBS and film festivals including AFI Docs, Full Frame, and the Los Angeles Film Festival, and his work has been recognized by the American Society of Cinematographers, the National Magazine Awards, and Vimeo Staff Picks. Formerly, Sam was a senior associate producer for The Atlantic magazine. He is a graduate of Chapman University, with a B.F.A. in Film Production.
LEV MERGIAN - Producer
Lev Mergian is an award-winning short film and music video director. He currently works in Hollywood as a reality TV producer where his work has been featured on NBC, ABC, FOX, and MTV. Lev's credits include Dancing with the Stars, MasterChef, America's Got Talent, American Idol and more.
GARY LEVA - Producer
Filmmaker Gary Leva has distinguished himself as the creative force behind scores of documentaries. His internationally acclaimed film, Old South, New South, explores the Deep South’s anguished history and the legacy that slavery continues to exert on the region’s psyche. His feature documentary, Fog City Mavericks, highlights 100 years in the history of San Francisco's vibrant filmmaking community. His award-winning A Legacy of Filmmakers premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, received a New York Film Society screening at Manhattan's Guggenheim Museum, and is now a part of the curricula at several top universities. He is an adjunct professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts as well as Pepperdine University.
ALEXANDRE NAUFEL - Cinematographer
Alexandre Naufel is a Brazilian-born, award-winning director of photography whose recent projects include the launch campaign for the FOX series Gotham, the acclaimed HBO documentary Sand and Sorrow, produced by George Clooney, and the ongoing documentary Once I Was about legendary director Hal Ashby. Other credits include music videos for the critically acclaimed band Califone, independent features, numerous commercials, and a campaign highlighting Intel’s pursuit of a Conflict-Free Chip. A graduate of AFI’s cinematography program, he moves easily from genre to genre. He is a longtime resident of Venice Beach, where he lives with his family and their growing menagerie of animals.
Risks and challenges
Film projects always contain an element of uncertainty. Fortunately, we have filmed 80% of our footage already, which means the challenges of finding the characters and story are already behind us. We just need this funding to get us to the editorial finish line!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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