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photo Open Hearted
By Marc Ostrick

"I almost died making this film," jokes filmmaker Marc Ostrick, and it's literally true. Marc was born with a serious congenital heart defect and, at the age of twenty-seven, he is about to face his third open-heart surgery. Not only does he have to come to terms with his own mortality, but he also has to deal with anxious divorced parents who haven't seen each other in years and a best friend who has his own ideas about how to help. This is a wry, first-person expedition into the uncertain territories of high-risk medicine and high intensity family relations.

We tend to think of heart disease as a problem of old age, but 25,000 people are born with congenital heart defects each year in the United States — and 5,600 people, mostly infants, die as a result. Since the 1970's open-heart surgery has been a viable and widely accessible option, even for young children, but it still carries significant risk. "The human heart is a miracle of evolution, an emblem of endurance, and a symbol of potency," says Marc. "Too bad mine was busted."

Mark Ostrick is available to speak with the film. He can be reached through his website: Ostrick Productions

53 minutes
© 2002
Purchase $199 VHS
Order No. QA-412
ISBN (VHS) 1-57295-412-4

"A warm, bravely personal film." Durham News & Observer

"Captures the human side of a fearsome but necessary experience. Brings pathos, humor, and education together - something rarely seen in the film world. A remarkable educational experience for any future patient as well as the general public." Welton M. Gersony, MD, Children's Hospital of New York - Presbyterian

"A boldly humorous presentation of a life-threatening operation, though not minimizing the seriousness of the event. It was received with great enthusiasm and approval." George C. Stoney, Professor of Cinema, New York University

"The good news is that large numbers of individuals born with heart defects are now living to vigorous and productive adulthood. The bad news is that cardiac surgeons have created a new chronic health condition — living with a complex heart defect. This is a moving piece of film drama that has tremendous human interest. It focuses on the human side so often ignored by medical professionals." Amy Verstappen, President, Adult Congenital Heart Association

"Recommended. A very out-of-the-ordinary documentary about open-heart surgery. Blended throughout the film is information that would assist in educating people about the nature of open heart surgery and the evolution of technology. But the film is also about Marc himself and the complex relationships among his family and friends, who are very real in front of the camera. It succeeds in capturing real moments ranging from fear and sadness to joy and delight." Educational Media Reviews Online

Awards & Conference Screenings
American Heart Association
Adult Congenital Heart Association
InFact Documentary Festival
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
Barcelona Documentary Film Festival
Ojai Film Festival

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Hepatitis C: A Viral Mystery: Hepatitis C is a viral disease of the liver which affects nearly four million Americans. Although about 10,000 people die each year from diseases associated with Hepatitis C, it is not an automatic death sentence.


Awards & Screenings

Related Films

Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website