“The Quiet Epidemic,” a feature documentary about the tick-borne illness Lyme Disease, has released its trailer ahead of the film’s premiere in the Special Presentations category at the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto on May 2.
The film is co-directed by Lindsay Keys and Winslow Crane-Murdoch, and the producers are Chris Hegedus, who was Oscar nominated with D.A. Pennebaker for “The War Room,” and Daria Lombroso, whose credits include “Most Likely to Succeed.”
Keys and Crane-Murdoch met through their Lyme Disease doctor’s office in 2015. “The Quiet Epidemic” results from their seven-year effort to reveal the truth about the illness, which strikes more than 500,000 people each year in the U.S. alone. Some 10-20% of those who receive a diagnosis and treatment remain sick after treatment. The filmmakers disclose new medical data and scientific discoveries, most of which – the filmmakers allege – have been denied or misinterpreted by the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and by extension, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration.
Keys and Crane-Murdoch stated: “Lyme Disease was first discovered in 1975, yet there has been very little progress for patients. Meanwhile, ticks are spreading life-threatening diseases around the world. Some people are left without a cure, and many without a diagnosis in the first place. We cannot wait for effective diagnostics and therapeutics any longer. We hope this film can be the catalyst to awaken the public to this growing and common threat.”
The documentary centers on the highly emotional debate between patients and doctors, who are still relying on a CDC-approved test with a 50% accuracy rate. It follows a girl from Brooklyn and a Duke University scientist both diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease, which some claim does not exist. “The Quiet Epidemic” follows their search for answers, which lands them in the middle of a decades-long medical controversy. What begins as a patient story evolves into an investigation into the history of Lyme Disease, dating back to its discovery. Finally, a paper trail of under-reported scientific research and buried documents reveal why ticks—and the diseases they carry—have quietly spread around the globe.
The movie will premiere on May 2 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Theater, a timely kickoff to Lyme Awareness Month in the U.S. and Canada. It will screen again May 6 at Isabel Bader Theater. Both screenings will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. The film will also be available in the Hot Docs virtual screening room, which is geo-blocked to Canada.
The editor is Mark Harrison (“The Lion’s Share”) and the supervising editor is Doug Blush (“Icarus,” “20 Feet From Stardom”). This is Keys’ and Crane-Murdoch’s feature film debut.
A social impact campaign will accompany the film’s release and include grassroots screenings, social media engagement, and political advocacy. The film team is calling on the global medical, scientific, and political communities to join forces and find much-needed and long-overdue answers.