I stared at my computer screen. I froze in disbelief as I began scrolling through the emails in my inbox. In between offers for flat screen TVs and other great holiday deals on things I didn’t need, sat an email with the following subject line:
Acceptance Into the 2012 California Independent Film Festival
I slowly clicked on the email, not really believing what I was reading. It was real.
Dear Ms Judy Avrin,
Your documentary film, Someday Melissa:the story of an eating disorder, loss and hope, has received early acceptance into the 2012 California Independent Film Festival (CAIFF).
I began shaking uncontrollably. Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. I kept repeating it out loud. I couldn’t believe it. I knew the first two people I had to call were Danna Markson and Jeff Cobelli who made the film a reality. I GOT BOTH OF THEIR VOICEMAILS!!! I tried texting and kept calling. Danna finally called about 15 minutes later, Jeff shortly after, and I shared the amazing news. To say we were excited is the understatement of the year.
We knew how positive the feedback was, but to receive acknowledgement on this level was amazing. Better still, the festival is February 10 – 16, 2012, just a few weeks before NEDAwareness Week and the NEDA sponsored NYC premier of Someday Melissa on February 28th. Having Someday Melissa as a selection in the festival will provide a forum for sharing information and awareness about eating disorders to the festival community – messages that they will take back to their own communities.
The following day, I had a long planned visit with a friend of Melissa’s at a nearby park. Although they had met in treatment out of state, she lived nearby and the girls had stayed connected. It was a warm autumn day, and as we walked around the lake, we shared memories of Melissa. She said how incredibly funny and inspiring she was. How they could talk to each other honestly and openly about their body image issues and the savageness of ED. She told me how they shared their dreams about the future, beating ED and how they would make a movie together one day.
Several months before Melissa died they were extras in a movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker that was filming in NY. I remember dropping Melissa off at 5:00 AM so they could catch the bus into the city. When she came home that night she was exhausted but so excited about having been a part of it. The film was released the same week as what should have been Melissa’s 20th birthday. I’ve never seen the movie but her friend told me the entire scene was cut.
As I reflected on the weekend’s events, I kept thinking about the film festival and the one person I wanted to share the news with. Melissa.