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Alumni & FriendsA set of film stills from the movie Mind over Matter of Scott and his father.

 

Mind Over Matter

In the 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 attitude.

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.

For More Information: www.mindovermatter-themovie

-- Adrianne Bee

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