This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001



Gifts of Life

Gifts of Life documentary highlights the stories of three organ transplant recipients

Who: Shelby Caban, Jack Cloonan, Jennifer Lentini, Doug Housman, John Redican, Joy Oppedisano, Michael David Drucker
What: Online film premiere and live discussion/Q&A
Where: Zoom link available here
When: Wednesday, May 13, free (donations accepted), 8:00
Why: After being selected for the Queens World Film Festival, the SR Socially Relevant Film Festival New York, the Hell’s Kitchen NYC Festival, the Point Lookout Film Festival, and many others and being named Best Documentary Short at the Big Apple Film Festival, Michael David Drucker’s Gifts of Life: Profiles in Courage from the Transplant Community is having its online premiere May 13 at 8:00 over Zoom, where the thirteen-minute film will be screened, followed by a live discussion and Q&A. The beautifully photographed work shares the stories of two women and one man who are alive today because of organ donations: Shelby Caban, Jack Cloonan, and Jennifer Lentini, who all feel an obligation to live life to the fullest in tribute to the people who donated their organs upon their tragic deaths. “There’s an uncommon level of gratitude among organ recipients. They have the utmost appreciation for their donors and for every moment of their extended life. It’s an inspiration to hear their stories of struggle and resilience,” Drucker says in his director’s statement.

They also are all giving back to society in their own ways. In making the film, writer-director Drucker (The Copper Cowboy, Inside My Life on the Spectrum) teamed up with LI TRIO and Hearts for Russ, two organizations leading the fight to increase awareness and funding for organ transplants. “The numbers for New York are horrific compared to any other state for registered organ donors,” Lentini says in the documentary, a poignant fact especially now that we’re in lockdown because of the coronavirus. The live Q&A will feature Caban, Cloonan, Lentini, Drucker [ed. note: Drucker is a close childhood friend of mine], executive producers Doug Housman and John Redican, and producer Joy Oppedisano. The event is free, but donations are accepted, pun intended.

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