According to the Institute of Medicine, Over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Pain is a BIG Problem. Chronic Pain is crippling America. The current cost of treating chronic pain has skyrocketed to close to a trillion dollars a year. This number dwarfs the costs of cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined. Chances are that you or someone you know is currently experiencing some form of chronic pain.
He changed shock jock Howard Stern’s life. Veteran Senator Tom Harkin was inspired to campaign for his cause, and he gave comedian Larry David “the closest thing to a religious experience” he’s ever had. Dr. John Sarno’s bestselling book “Healing Back Pain” was first published in the 1980’s, and when co-director Michael Galinsky’s father read it he was cured of chronic whiplash. The book – which connects pain with emotions rather than structural causes – put Sarno at blunt odds with the medical system, which shunned his unorthodox approach. Many years later, when Michael was immobilized by excruciating back pain, he met with Dr. Sarno and was put on the mend. Thus began a 12-year odyssey to chronicle his personal journey of healing with the story of Dr. Sarno and his work.This artful and personal film, “All The Rage,” braids Galinsky’s universal story of pain and emotion together with the story of Dr. Sarno’s work, connecting the audience to both the issues and the emotions at play. Featuring interviews with Howard Stern, Larry David, reporter John Stossel, Dr. Andrew Weil, Senators Bernie Sanders and Tom Harkin, and other luminaries, ALL THE RAGE offers a profound rethink of our health care.
ABOUT DR. SARNO
While practicing at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation at NYU medical center, Dr. John Sarno came to understand the problem and predicted the epidemic of chronic pain beginning in the 1970′s. When Dr. Sarno compared his patients’ charts, he found that more than 80% of them had a history of at least two other psychosomatic illnesses like ulcers, migraines, eczema, or colitis. He postulated that the stresses of life might be causing the pain. When he talked to his patients further, he found that most of them were perfectionists who put themselves under unreasonable amounts of unconscious pressure to be perfect and good.
When Dr. Sarno suggested his patients make the connection between their emotions – including their tendency to put themselves under extreme pressure – and their pain, they rapidly improved. His visionary insights revealed that the unconscious mind was activating the autonomic nervous system, and that the repression of unconscious rage was a major contributor to pain. Over the course of his 50+ years in practice, he developed and adapted his treatment program into four bestselling books, which have been translated into over 30 languages.
An award-winning independent film studio, RUMUR collaborates with high profile clients like HBO, A&E, ESPN, MSNBC, DIRECTV, PBS, and to create critically acclaimed, documentary films. Their work has been shortlisted for the Academy Awards and screened at the top film festivals around the world. As the lines between film, television, and the web continue to blend together, RUMUR integrates its productions across multiple platforms, starting at the early development stages through final product and distribution.
RUMUR is a collaborative between partners Michael Galinsky, Suki Hawley and David Beilinson that has produced seven feature length films and documentaries, two of which were short-listed for the Academy Award. Their first doc “Horns and Halos” was shortlisted in 2003, and it went on to win numerous awards. In 2011, Their feature Battle for Brooklyn was shortlisted for the Oscar. In 2013, Michael received a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. The 2015 special, “The Sweat Solution”, chronicling the origin of Gatorade, is part of ESPN’s acclaimed 30 for 30 series. Their latest film Who Took Johnny, about the first missing child on a milk carton, is currently airing on Netflix. They are currently in production on several feature docs.
For more information visit rumur.com
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can you briefly explain what All the Rage is about?
All The Rage began as a film about Dr. John Sarno and his mind body approach to back pain. We came to the story because of a personal connection to it. Michael’s father read Dr. Sarno’s book “Healing Back Pain” in the 80’s and healed from years of chronic whiplash pain. Later Michael’s brother went to see Dr. Sarno when he had such bad hand problems that he could not type or drive. Michael read the book at that point and banished his own recurrent back pain for a decade. When it came roaring back and he was slammed to the floor in incredible pain, he went to see Dr Sarno as well, and thus began a 12 year odyssey to make this film. Over the course of filming it became an increasingly personal story.
What was your main motivation for making the documentary?
We at Rumur knew that Dr. Sarno had a powerful story that needed to be told. We have made four other feature docs about characters who are fighting for what they believe in against great odds. We originally tried making this film as a verite documentary, but quickly found it difficult. In fact, it ended up getting put on hold for many years because we couldn’t raise any funding and we weren’t convinced that we knew how to make it. When Michael’s back problems flared up again in 2011, we were more determined than ever to finish the film. The good news was that the culture had shifted dramatically in the time that the project was on hold. People were much more open to the idea that many health problems had a psychosomatic connection. That made it much more exciting to work on it. That process has only ramped up over the last 5 years.
Being that psychosomatic pain is so often dismissed, were you at all reluctant to make a film about it?
We weren’t reluctant to make, but we did find it hard to fund, and hard to conceptualize. The idea that pain has a psychosomatic basis was widely dismissed as unscientific a dozen years ago. Both doctors and patients found it hard to wrap their minds around the idea that back pain might have an emotional cause. Because of that reality, we needed to be very deliberate about how we told the story. Now the idea is much more accepted and there is a flood of research supporting this idea.
How long did it take to shoot? Did you run into any challenges while making it?
In our first 3 years of trying to get the film off the ground, we shot only 6 hours of tape. By contrast we shot nearly 300 hours on another doc that we were working on at the same time. The first challenge was funding. We applied for dozens of grants, many of them multiple times, but the ideas at the heart of the film didn’t connect. While Dr. Sarno’s ideas are controversial with the mainstream, he does have a large and dedicated following thanks to the success of his best-selling books on back pain. Hundreds of people have said his books changed their lives. That way, we were able to raise funding via kickstarter once we restarted the film. At that point, the only way we could think of a film was in terms of direct cinema. We had no interest in doing talking head interviews. At the same time, there wasn’t much action we could follow. Dr. Sarno would not introduce us to patients and we couldn’t find anyone to follow, so we were kind of stuck. Eventually, we made it more personal as we went along, using Michael’s story as a way to give the audience a character to relate to. We were then able to make use of the footage we had shot and we ended up interviewing a number of people because it was a complex story that needed many voices.
Can you tell our readers why they should see All the Rage and what you want the audience to take away from the film?
All The Rage won’t provide people with an easy answer to their problems, but it will give them a way to view their lives, and their emotions, in a more open way that should put them on a pathway towards healing. We were very conscious of making a film that honors Dr. Sarno’s legacy without making a film that was just for people who are already fans of his work. We also didn’t want to make a film that was essentially his book in a shortened form, but instead a film that would inspire people to do their own work in coming to understand the ideas. Almost everyone we have shown the film to so far has asked, “Can I show this to my brother/father/friend”. Most people have also said, “This will help so many people!” Last week we saw that a well know comedian cancelled a show due to back pain. We sent him a link that night and in the morning we got a message that said, “Fabulous Film!, Finish it! I’ll promote it!” That same day we heard from another comedian who had just read the book and echoed the sentiments above. The goal was to make a film that drove home the idea that our minds and bodies are intimately connected. I think we accomplished that.
What would you say to nonbelievers in psychosomatic pain? How can a friend or family member convince a nonbeliever with chronic pain to get this kind of help?
As Dr. Sarno points out, you can’t convince anyone of anything. For this reason, we tried to make a film that wouldn’t feel like we were trying to convince them. However we did want to show, to illustrate that connection. By the end of the film it can’t be ignored.
Can you give tips to any prospective Documentary filmmakers?/What did you learn while making All the Rage?
Making films takes time. There’s always a way around no. This morning on the way to NY we ran into a friend who works at the airport. We met her when she inquired about our camera bag last year. Turned out that she was interested in film. A couple of weeks later she started to shoot a documentary about a transgender co-worker who was becoming a major advocate for transgender rights. We started to help her shoot and conceptualize the film. There’s been a learning curve there for sure, but she showed us something she shot earlier this week just before the election. It’s going to be a several year shoot and she is coming to understand what needs to get shot and what she can let go. It was awesome to see how much she’s learned- which leads to you learn by doing!
What’s next step for both you and the doc?
We hope that the film changes the conversation about health care. We have a half dozen films in the fire- but we know we are going to spend the next year getting this film out.