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The first-person, real life account of one man's struggle with a rare and incurable brain disease.
The first-person, real life account of one man's struggle with a rare and incurable brain disease.
243 backers pledged $23,117 to help bring this project to life.

About

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We’re making a film about the saddest disease you’ve never heard of.  We’re looking for some funding to continue shooting and finish a project called Howard’s Brain.

Who’s Howard?

Howard Glick is a 53-year-old man currently living alone in New York City.  Howard’s funny, outgoing, talkative and has had an interesting life.  

If you saw him on the street, you might not notice him.  But there is one thing that makes him different from most of us: Howard has a rare brain disease called Frontotemporal Degeneration, or FTD.

A disease that steals your soul

Never heard of FTD?  Join the crowd.  FTD is a form of dementia, but instead of attacking memory like Alzheimer’s, it affects the frontal lobes of the brain, the part that controls your behavior and emotions; your personality.  Take away your frontal lobes, the “social brain” and the you that is “you” ceases to exist.  

FTD typically starts younger and affects people in the “prime of their lives”.  No matter what age you are diagnosed, FTD is irreversible, untreatable, and incurable.

It is What it is

In 2010, I made a short film about four families struggling with this terrible disease.  The film It is What It is was told from the perspective of a husband or wife caring for their spouse with FTD.  Each of their stories was sad and heartbreaking but also some of the most powerful testaments to love that I have ever witnessed.

Still there was something missing.  One of the effects of FTD is that it mutes the self-awareness of those afflicted with it.  They lose the ability to make sense of and express what is happening to them.  All too often, their voices are silent.

And then I met Howard.

Howard Glick, FTD

Howard is different: he knows he has FTD and he can describe what it’s like to live with the disease - from the inside.   Howard is far from silent. 

So last September, I gave him a video camera and asked him to record himself.  Howard is funny, candid, introspective and articulate. You can get a sense of him and what he’s been through by watching the video above.  

Like so many others with FTD, Howard was mis-diagnosed and suffered through six-and-a-half years of what he calls “absolute hell.”  Once a successful businessman, Howard describes his current financial situation as “retro-economical.”  He lives in a rent-controlled apartment in Washington Heights and gets by with a little help from his friends, a check from Social Security, and 63 cents a day in food stamps.

But Howard is a remarkable fighter.  While he struggles to keep his own symptoms in check, he also started a blog and a FaceBook group to help others with FTD.  He has online followers from around the world.  He writes candidly about his own life and he speaks with a special wisdom of those benighted by FTD.

Howard’s Brain

The challenge facing Howard now -- and for telling his story -- is that it’s going to take a while to write the ending.  There is little that is typical about the progression of FTD so Howard lives in uncharted territory.

So we’ve set our sights on the horizon.  We have about 100 hours of footage so far and Howard continues to film his daily life.  My plan is to send a small crew to shoot what Howard cannot and to interview those closest to him.  All the funds raised through this Kickstarter project will be used to pay for that shooting and to begin editing.

Howard’s Brain is the first-person account of one man’s reach for a life that is slowly extending beyond his grasp.  I believe this film is a unique opportunity to raise the voice of FTD.  Through Howard’s story we hope to spread awareness about FTD and support the goal of ultimately finding a cure.  We hope you'll want to help us with that mission.  Thanks for your support.

To learn more about FTD and Howard see these sites:

National Institutes of Health:

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/picks/picks.htm

The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration:

http://www.theaftd.org

Howard’s Blog:

http://earlydementiasupport.blogspot.com/

"AFTD is delighted to support Joe Becker's Kickstarter campaign.  His film It Is What It Is advances awareness of frontotemporal degeneration as only a film made with clear vision and a compassionate heart can.

We are certain that the completion of Howard's Brain will make another critical contribution to FTD awareness and care."

Beth Walter, AFTD Board Chair

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Your support means more than we can express in words. However, we'll send you a thank-you email for helping to spread the word about Frontotemporal Degeneration - FTD.

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    25 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    You'll receive a handwritten thank-you note from the man himself, Howard Glick. Includes the envelope and a PicturePostage stamp of Howard.
    Plus you'll be helping to spread the word about FTD too.

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    34 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    You'll not only get a thank-you note from Howard but your name will be listed in the "Special Thanks" credits of the film when it's finished. Then, everyone will know you're helping to spread the word about FTD.

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    55 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You'll be seriously styling' in a T-shirt with a "Howard's Brain" logo and his saying “I’m aware that I'm not aware.” Can't beat that with a Ben Franklin, can you?
    Sensing a theme here? Spread the word about FTD.

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    35 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    You can wear your rad "Howard's Brain's T-shirt when you and Howard meet at the hang-out where he films daily - Starbucks. The trip to NYC is on you but Howard will treat you to your favorite half-caf, double-decaf, wet-cap, skim-cappuccino drink. Let me tell you that's one cup fine of joe. Say it with me: Spread the word about FTD.

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    2 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    The T-shirt reward, "Special Thanks" in the film's credits, but no stinkin' Starbucks for you. No, you get a better class of drink with Howard at Le Cheile in NYC. By the time you're done you won't even be able to pronounce the letters: FTD.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Look, there's not much more we can promise you at this level. We'll call you an Associate Producer or something if you like, but mostly you'll know who you are and you'll know what you did: You helped spread the word about FTD.

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Funding period

- (30 days)