Prize4Life Inspires Award-winning ALS Film: Trapped

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Film by Takata raises ALS awareness, promotes Prize4Life.

His spirit and genius cannot be taken by the disease.

In April of 2009, Director/Producer James Takata, Writers/Producers Zach Lewis and Jim Mahoney, and Producer Jhennifer Webberley created the film Trapped to support Prize4Life’s battle against ALS. Trapped is a short film about Stephen, a talented young composer and pianist who discovers he has ALS after an eerie progression of symptoms. And though he begins to lose his ability to physically write music and play the piano, his spirit and genius cannot be taken by the disease. As Director Takata describes, though is body is deteriorating, “his ability is still there.”

Trapped was the brainchild of Amy Yamner, Chair of Prize4Life’s Board of Directors. Yamner had seen a short film about Alzheimer's that put the disease into the public eye, and she thought the approach was a brilliant way to raise awareness about ALS. She collaborated with Zach Lewis and Jim Mahoney, who wrote the script, and then brought on Director James Takata to bring the script to life in a compassionate, elegant and powerful manner (see an interview with the makers of “Trapped” here).

David Rodgers gives an inspiring performance as Stephen in this evocative film that draws attention to the cruel progression of the disease. Oliver Ponce’s stunning camera work and Michael John Mollo’s amazing original score lend beauty to a very difficult subject matter.

Impressively, Trapped was created and produced for under $10,000. The professional writers, directors, and producers volunteered both time and equipment, and local vendors generously gave the team non-profit discounts or waived fees entirely.

Testament to the power of the film and the skill of its director, actors, and producers, Trapped has been accepted to the California Independent Film Festival, one of California’s premier showcases for independent, foreign, and mainstream films. It will be shown on:

Saturday April 24 – 11:00AM
Orinda Theater, Orinda Way, Orinda CA 94563

Trapped was also accepted to Methodfest, an annual celebration of performance and discovery in independent film in California. It will be shown on:

Friday March 26 - 7:15pm
Shorts Program #2 (Metamorphosis)
Founders Hall, Calabasas Civic Center 100/200 Civic Center Way, Calabasas, CA 91302

Director James Takata will be present at both showings. The film also recently won the bronze medal in the Telly Awards, a New York-based program that honors outstanding television, film, and online work. Congratulations to the entire Trapped team!

About ALS:
Known in the United States as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS is a rapidly progressing neurodegenerative disease that typically takes the life of patients within 2-5 years of diagnosis. It is caused by the degeneration of motor neurons, the nerve cells in the central nervous system that control voluntary muscle movement. It most commonly strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, and affects men slightly more than women. ALS is the most common motor neuron disease worldwide, and as many as 30,000 Americans struggle with it at any given time. There is no known cure for ALS and only one modestly effective FDA-approved treatment for the disease.

About Prize4Life:
Prize4Life was founded by a group of Harvard Business School students when one of them, Avi Kremer, was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 29. Prize4Life works to accelerate the discovery of a treatment and a cure for ALS by using powerful incentives to attract new people and ideas, and to leverage existing efforts and expertise in the ALS field. Among other program initiatives, the organization currently administers the ALS Biomarker Prize Challenge, the Avi Kremer ALS Treatment Prize, and an ALS research portal (http://www.ResearchALS.org).

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Meghan Kallman
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