Out of My Head

People will say, ‘It’s just a headache.’ They’re not just headaches. There are days that I don’t see anything except for shapes all day long.

Billie Jernigan

About The Film

There are few things more frightening than having a child who is sick, who you don't know how to help and whose illness you don't understand. That's what Susanna Styron experienced when her daughter Emma's spells of blindness and vomiting began at the age of fourteen. Emma's eventual migraine diagnosis, rather than putting an end to the mystery and confusion, was just the beginning, as mother and daughter embarked on a years-long journey to discover the truth about living with migraine.

Film Still of Daughter returning home

The Team

Susanna Styron

Writer/Director

SUSANNA STYRON is a writer and a director. Her debut feature was Columbia Pictures’ Shadrach starring Harvey Keitel and Andie MacDowell. She recently wrote and directed the narrative short, House of Teeth. Other directing credits include Sidney Lumet’s TV series 100 Centre Street, for which she also wrote; and the web series All Downhill From Here starring Brooke Adams. Susanna has written several award-winning television movies; and written for the TV series Borgia. Her documentary, 9/12: From Chaos to Community, was also a collaboration with Jacki Ochs.

Jacki Ochs

Producer

JACKI OCHS is a Producer/Director of documentary film. Her work includes Vietnam: The Secret Agent , Letters Not About Love and Jazz Summit. Among the awards she has received are New York Film Festival premiere, Sundance Special Jury Prize, SXSW Best Feature Documentary, American Film Festival Best New Director. Jacki executive produced Keith Beauchamp’s Emmy nominated Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, and Kristi Zea’s Everybody Knows…Elizabeth Murray. She is a two time MacDowell Colony and Guggenheim Fellow and Executive Director of Human Arts Association.

Francisco Bello

Editor

FRANCISCO BELLO is an OSCAR® and three time Emmy nominee. He shot and produced Salim Baba, a Best Short Documentary Oscar and Emmy Nominee. Francisco also produced and edited the award winning War Don Don, edited the Peabody winning Best Kept Secret, the Cine Golden Eagle winner Code of the West and was the Karen Schmeer Award recipient for Our Nixon. He co-directed Dreaming Against the World and co-wrote and edited The Reagan Show. Francisco is currently developing a true crime miniseries, 7 STORIES.

Wendy Blackstone

Composer

WENDY BLACKSTONE has created over 130 film scores. Of nine films nominated, four have won Academy Awards. EP Steven Spielberg said “Wendy’s music took the show from a 3 to a 9” for the OSCAR® winning short Dear Diary. Her feature work includes Juan Campanella’s Love Walked In; Nick Gomez’s New Jersey Drive; and Susan Seidelman’s The Dutch Master. Wendy has scored five primetime television series. Her recent documentary scores include HBO’s Girl in the River, Showtime’s American Jihad, and HBO’s Paradise Lost 3.

Maya Edelman

Animator

MAYA EDELMAN, born in Kiev USSR, studied animation in New York City. Her work focuses on expressing complex characters through cell animation and illustrations. She wrote and created a credit sequence for the feature film Collective: Unconcious which premiered at SXSW. Her illustrations were featured in the Liminality exhibition at Gowanus Print Lab in 2015. Her books, exhibited at Brooklyn Zine Festival (2014,2015) include Quitting and Boobs, Pubes and Cukes. She is developing a short film titled Neoteny comprised of animation and phone footage.

PRINCIPAL CINEMATOGRAPHERS

Edwin Martinez

Edwin Martinez

Stephen McCarthy

Stephen McCarthy

Stefan Thissen

Stefan Thissen

Phillip Van

Phillip Van

Participants

Featured Participants

in order of appearance

Emma Larson

EMMA LARSON’s first migraine came in the form of loss of vision at the age of 14. Things got much worse from there.

Joan Didion

JOAN DIDION, the revered author, reads from In Bed, her acclaimed essay about her experience with migraine.

Sheila Lineberry

SHEILA LINEBERRY’s migraine attacks made her fear she was going to die - a fear which spread to her children and husband.

Billie Jernigan

BILLIE JERNIGAN began experiencing migraine as an adolescent. So did her daughter MORGAN.

David Jernigan

DAVID JERNIGAN’s migraine disease began as the result of a traumatic brain injury sustained during combat in Iraq.

Melania Triantos

MELINA TRIANTOS had her first visit to a pediatric neurologist at age 11 after years of migraine symptoms.

Joanna Kempner, PhD

JOANNA KEMPNER and her husband JOE DRURY wanted to have a second child. Joanna wasn’t sure she could endure going off her migraine medication in order to get pregnant.

Siri Hustvedt

SIRI HUSTVEDT has suffered from various neurological conditions all her life, and written eloquently about them in several books. She and her husband PAUL AUSTER describe life as a couple coping with her disease.

Andrew Levy

ANDREW LEVY did extensive research for his memoir about life with migraine. He shares his rich knowledge of such well-known people with migraine as Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Woolf and Lewis Carroll.

Shiamak Davar

Bollywood choreographer SHIAMAK DAVAR found an outlet for his migraine disease in his work, creating dances that reflect his inner experience.

Lisa Sokolov

After years of agony, LISA SOKOLOV developed her own method for lessening the intensity of migraine: a technique using vocalization and the body.

John Lewis

During Headache on the Hill, legendary CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS meets with Georgia activists to help advance legislation in Congress to support migraine research.

Featured Medical Professionals

in alphabetical order

SUSAN BEAIRD, DNP, CPNP
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Neurology, Monroe Carell, Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, TN

DAVID BORSOOK, MD, PHD
Professor, Harvard Medical School
Director, Center for Pain and the Brain, Boston Children's and Massachusetts General Hospitals
Director, Save the Childs Brain, Boston Children's Hospital

RAMI BURSTEIN, PHD
John Hedley-Whyte Professor of Anesthesia and Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School
Vice Chairman of Research, Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

ANDREW CHARLES, MD
Professor of Neurology
Meyer and Renee Luskin Chair in Migraine and Headache Studies
Director, UCLA Goldberg Migraine Program, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

DAVID DODICK, MD FRCP (C), FACP, FAHS, FAAN
Professor of Neurology, Director of Headache Program, Mayo Clinic of Medicine, Scottsdale, AZ
Chair, American Migraine Foundation
Chairman, International Headache Society

PETER GOADSBY, MD, PHD, FAHS
Professor of Neurology, King's College, London

JOANNA KEMPNER, PHD
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

LORI LAZDOWSKY, RN, BSN, CPN
Reiki Master, Nursing Clinical Coordinator, Boston Children's Hospital

ALYSSA LEBEL, MD
Assistant in Neurology, Assistant in Pain Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital
Director, Chronic Headache Program, Boston Children's Hospital

RICHARD LIPTON, MD
Professor and Vice Chair of Neurology, Co-Director of the Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY

ELIZABETH LODER, MD, MPH, FAHS
Chief, Division of Headache and Pain Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA

KLAUS PODOLL
Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen, Germany

ALLAN PURDY, MD, FRCPC, FACP, FAHS
Professor of Neurology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
President, American Headache Society

ROBERT SHAPIRO, MD, PHD
Professor of Neurological Sciences Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont

LAURA SIMONS, PHD
Director, Biobehavioral Pediatric Pain Lab, Stanford U Medical School

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