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“Zebrafish: Practically People, Transforming the Study of Disease”

By Mikel Fair / a few months ago
Zebrafish Research Documentary Film Jennifer Manner Poster_11x17_Awards WP

An Amazing Documentary About Zebrafish Research

Zebrafish: Practically People, Transforming the Study of Disease, is an official selection of the Oregon Documentary Film Festival 2018. Furthermore, this film received a nomination for the Best Editing Award. We enjoyed screening this Zebrafish research film screened on May 26, 2018 in Portland. I am amazed at how many times this film has screened at documentary film festivals internationally. I feel that Zebrafish: Practically People, Transforming How We Study Disease is an excellent film. Because it provides an overview of the benefits of Zebrafish as a biomedical research model. Most importantly, this is an easy-to-understand, visually-stunning documentary directed by Jennifer Manner. Watch this documentary film now, the full video is available below.

Synopsis:  Zebrafish: Practically People, Transforming the Study of Disease

Viewed by many in the biomedical community as relatively new research model. Zebrafish research has been helping scientists effectively investigate and fight human disease for over 30 years. Furthermore, the scientists who do Zebrafish research are passionate about its benefits. Many have had amazing success using Zebrafish to develop and test therapies for some of the most prevalent and devastating human diseases. Zebrafish: Practically People shares the areas where biomedical research using Zebrafish is making a difference. From cancer to Alzheimer’s to spectrum disorders such as autism research.

Zebrafish Research Saves Money

Zebrafish are a low-cost vertebrate model organism with some very unique attributes. Including the fact that Zebrafish share almost all of the same organs as humans, are cost-effective, and reproduce in a transparent embryo which develops outside the womb. A feature that provides unprecedented scientific opportunity. The increasingly-recognized value of the Zebrafish model is demonstrated by the fact that today even scientists on NASA’s International Space Station work with them to study gravity effects. Zebrafish: Practically People concludes with a call for additional funding to support the critical work of scientists using the Zebrafish model.

Jennifer Manner: The Zebrafish Research Connection

Jennifer is a Zebrafish advocate, spreading the word about how Zebrafish have the potential to be the salvation of humankind. Jennifer is also the CEO and Founder of ZScientific, LLC, a company focused on biomedical research utilizing the Zebrafish model. Jennifer is also a Board Member of ZScientific Foundation, a not-for-profit committed to funding the innovative biomedical research that includes the Zebrafish model. I think this film has a great mission and a website to find out more.

Director Jennifer Manner Biography

When not making films, Jennifer is the Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs of EchoStar Corporation, the largest U.S. commercial geostationary orbit satellite operator, where she is focused on spectrum management and policy. Jennifer is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center. Jennifer has authored two published books and numerous magazine and scholarly articles. Jennifer holds a B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany in Theater Arts and Political Science. Also, a JD cum laude from New York Law School, and an LLM from Georgetown University Law Center. She lives in a house full of Zebrafish paraphernalia with her husband, Dr. Eric Glasgow, and her golden doodle, Sophie.

Interview with Jennifer Manner (Part One)

  1. Why did you think that the Oregon Documentary Film Festival was a good place to submit and screen your film? "Zebrafish research first began in Oregon. Back to the source."
  2. Is there any special meaning to the title? "Zebrafish: Practically People, Transforming the Study of Disease. Our title points out how zebrafish can be used as human avatars to fight disease."
  3. Why did you choose to tell this particular story? "I am a firm believer that zebrafish are not well known enough for the biomedical attributes. It was important to get the story out."
  4. Did you discover certain story elements during the production of this film that you never expected to find in the planning stages of this project? "The passion of the zebrafish scientific community is astounding."

Jennifer Manner Director's Statement

Healthcare spending is out of control. What if…we could get better biomedical data, spend pennies on the dollar, and get results in a fraction of the time? Zebrafish, a proven but under-recognized and underutilized biomedical research model, can do that. Zebrafish are human avatars: their immune system is remarkably similar to ours, they share 70 percent of the same genes, and 84 percent of genes associated with human disease have a Zebrafish counterpart!

Interview with Jennifer Manner (Part Two)

  1. How did you fund this film? Did you use crowd funding? Do you have pressure to recoup the production costs somehow? "It was self-funded with some crowd funding and also I am an artist and I sold some of my paintings for a good portion of the costs."
  2. What kind of audience reaction are you getting to this film? "Fantastic. I find people who see the movie leave with a new understanding of the benefits of zebrafish for biomedical research.What is really amazing is the occasional email I get from someone whose life has been improved because of the Zebrafish."
  3. Do you have plans for a sequel or future film that you are working on? Please discuss. "Yes, I am working on a film in my other passion--telecommunications. The name of the film is When Wire Was King When Wire Was King is a one-hour documentary that puts the telecommunications revolution into historical context while also looking into the crystal ball of the future – talking to the world’s leading telecommunications experts – to see where we may be going."
  4. Finally, you have completed a documentary film, which is a huge achievement. Do you have any advice for a future filmmaker that is about to start a documentary project? Furthermore, can you offer any advice that you wish you had been given before you started your production? "Yes. I certainly believe that you have to select a crew you can trust and then listen to them. Furthermore, they can be your best advisors. Also remember, that this is a team effort."
About the author

Mikel Fair

My name is Mikel Fair. I am the Director of Film Festival Circuit Inc. First of all, we are a company that manages film festival events in Texas and Oregon. Furthermore, we like to have fun and celebrate independent film. I worked for 15 years in the television and film production as a location sound mixer and production manager. I have also worked in post production as an editor, post sound mixer and composer. Above all, watching independent films and reading creative screenplays is my passion.


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