The brain is separated from the skull by a layer of fluid. A hit to the head can jar the brain within this suspension and cause permanent damage. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopahty (CTE), most commonly known to occur in football players as depicted in the 2015 film CONCUSSION, is a brain disease which can be caused by a single acute blow or multiple blows to the head. Symptoms range from flashes of anger to hallucinations. Writer and director Michael Molina Minard’s short film, STANDING8, centers on a champion boxer forced to face the reality of brain damage. The Tony-nominated actor Jon Michael Hill stars.
Brain trauma experts Dr. Robert Stern and Dr. Anne McKee advised filmmaker Michael Molina Minard on STANDING8. Dr. Stern is a neurologist who heads the renowned Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. Their research has shown comorbitiy of CTE with other disorders such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and dementia.
Minard himself was an amateur boxer who noticed signs of CTE amongst his peers. He is a graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program and STANDING8 was funded by a $20,000 Sloan production grant. The film was an official selection at a number of festivals including the Denver Film Festival, the Austin Film Festival, the NBC Universal Short Film Festival, and the San Francisco Black Film Festival. The film qualified for the Oscars as Urbanworld's Grand Jury Prize Winning Short of 2015. STANDING8 is premiering online on Science & Film and will be available henceforth in its growing library of Sloan-supported short films available to watch any time:
The Sloan Foundation supports the next generation of filmmakers at Columbia University to tackle science and technology themes and characters.
For more about Traumatic Brain Injury, Charlie Rose and co-host Nobel-Laureate Neuroscientist Dr. Eric Kandel discuss the disease with a group of experts: