A documentary film on isolation, art, and transformation after brain injury

Artists in the Film

Dani sits on the steps of her apartment, smiling.Dani Sanderson

Dani is a rapper, beatboxer, poet, and performer. She had a severe TBI in high school. After time off and several school transfers, she graduated and has to now figure out what comes next in life. She has strong family ties and religious faith, but she lost most of her friends after her injury.

[Photo © Jo Arlow]

2016 update: Dani has quit smoking cigarettes. She continues to live independently and has taken some community college classes. She maintains strong relationships with her family and recorded a track for Olympia’s The Bridge Community Youth Services.

Update from Dani: “Brain injurys…. Doesn’t get any better but it doesn’t get worse Thank God”




Brandon sits outside, playing guitar and singing.Brandon Michael Scarth

Brandon is a singer-songwriter and was training to become a Worship Pastor when he sustained a severe TBI. He attempted to return to Bible College but could not maintain his grades. He is deeply connected to family, friends at the vibrant, supported community where he lives, and the disability community in Portland.

[Photo © Sika Stanton]

2016 update: Brandon lives at KMS  and is actively engaged in local brain injury support groups and meetings and playing music at the Independent Living Resources center. He travels in the US and abroad with his mother, Beth.

Kris Haas kneels on the ground, unrolling 18-foot sheets of paper with black and gray ink paintings.Kris Haas

Kris is a prolific abstract expressionist painter. She had a mild TBI at work and has since become severely isolated, has experienced Major Depression Disorder, and rarely leaves her home. A part-time painter before her injury, she now dedicates all the time and energy she has to creating art although she struggles to maintain websites and online sales.

[Photo © Sika Stanton]

2016 update: After being in unstable, temporary housing, Kris received comprehensive support and has been in supportive group living situations with other women with disabilities. She continues to paint, but in her smaller shared home, she is often working in the bathtub or the back porch.

Update from Kris: “By way of letting my Brain Injury Disability get the best of me in the summer of 2014 I lost my apartment and lived in unstable housing for a while then a little bit more stable then in the early spring of 2015 I became homeless and lived out of two different women’s shelters for 4 months.  Since there was no way to keep any order in my life anymore I just had to let go and stop trying so hard.  How can one sum up in a few sentences the thousands of moments I experienced while being on the streets and in the shelter.  ___________________________  That’s how.  Yet to be filled in at a later date perhaps but where I am right now is here, in front of this computer, writing this down and this is where I want to be.  Telling the story.

Moving forward with my work, with my art.  In what ever form it does take.
In November of 2014 I had found a new site to sell my work on by way of the image being printed on different types of products like cell phone, coffee mugs, t-shits, and more.  When I saw how fun and cool my images looked on the tote bags there was this OMG!!!!!!! moment.  I did a little Preview presentation and took some of the tote bags with my images on them and wrote at the top ‘My Images On Tote Bags In Target Stores Summer 2015.’  Little did I know that about 16 months later I would find an online company that partners with Target as well as many, many other stores such as Whole Foods to name one, to help independent artist, small business owners and other people with products to sell.
As of writing this I just completed finishing submission of 430 of my images on 1290 tote bags in a spreadsheet that will be online for retailers to see starting next week.  My contact person out of San Francisco has said about my tote bags in response to what I said ‘The one thing I realized why I love these so much and whey I think they will stand out so much and people will love them is that they look like a piece of art.  Not an image or graphic design printed on to a tote bag.’  She said ‘I agree, that’s what makes them so great for that type of product.'”

View more pictures from the film here.

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