summer of 1998, Scott Gerow (B.A., '97), then
a recent cinema graduate, began filming his father's efforts to lose
weight. Gerow hoped that his ever-present camera would encourage his
father, a 350-pound man who struggled to tie his own shoes, toward a
more healthful way of living. Three months into filming, however, Gerow
would learn that his own health was in jeopardy. The 27-year-old filmmaker
was diagnosed with stage-four brain cancer. Doctors told Gerow he had
8 to 12 months to live.
Gerow was determined to finish what would become a different documentary.
He continued to film his father, who managed to lose a little weight.
But, as his own health deteriorated, he turned the camera on himself
to record his thoughts. He filmed his mother, too, as the story took
another unexpected turn: the end to his parents' already strained marriage.
Throughout filming, even in the face of dire medical reports, a smiling
Gerow remained upbeat and continued to believe that he would outlive
his prognosis. He did.
After a two-year fight, Gerow died October 26, 2000. He left behind
footage and notes for his film's production. His friend, cinematographer
Megan Schoenblacher, pulled together a skilled production crew. With
their help, Gerow's film, "Mind Over Matter," screened at
the Sundance Film Festival in January.
His mother, Sue Berman, says that some viewers at Sundance shared their
own close calls with cancer. Others had struggled with weight loss and
failing relationships. Many were simply inspired by Gerow's positive
Gerow's illness led his mother to re-evaluate her own life. "Scott
was my wake-up call," she says. Berman has since remarried, become
a hypnotherapist and cofounded the Orange County Angel Adventure, a
fundraiser for the National Brain Tumor Foundation. She plans to donate
any future profits from "Mind Over Matter" to the organization.