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Synopsis


Since the age of six, Robbie has been driven by music. After his mother died, he has lived and breathed it.

All of that is snatched away when he is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at 28. His problems spiral out of control as he struggles to find his new normal. Isolated by his condition, and addicted to his medication, Robbie is alone, fighting poverty, pills and Parkinson’s.




Trailer and sneak preview





Robbie’s Story


Robbie comes from a working class family in rural New Brunswick where he grew up with the music of Elvis, Roy Orbison and the guitar playing of his father. After his mother died of cancer when he was twelve, his passion for music grew, filling the void and becoming the one constant in his life. At the age of 28, Robbie lost his singing voice and guitar playing ability. Eventually, he was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease.

Defiant, Robbie takes the diagnosis as a kick-start to fight back. With infectious energy and audacious plans he uses his passion for music to start raising money and awareness for his new incurable disease. Quickly recruiting the help of various volunteers and organizations, Robbie is soon traveling around the country speaking on radio shows and at events, sharing his experiences. With the help of many who believe in his cause, he organizes and performs at fund-raising concerts, such as the benefit music weekend of Willie Nelson and friends for the “Freddy Powers Parkinson’s Foundation” in Hillsboro, Texas, and the “Musicians Against Parkinson’s” benefit concert at Club Soda in Montreal.

After the initial hype of Robbie’s journey, his personal struggle with the effects of his illness and medication, as well as a certain amount of denial of his own situation, begin to overshadow what he is doing for the cause. Unable to get help or answers from his doctors and meeting with disbelief and resistance from his family and friends, the people around him begin to turn away because Robbie seems to be more and more out of control. He claims that the side-effects of the medication change his personality and that he can’t control himself. Eventually, Robbie has his second coming out: he has slept with at least 20 strangers over the course of the last year. He says that besides the more common side effects like depression and dementia, there is a side effect called Hypersexuality, the compulsive desire to have sex. His fiancé Xavier can’t take it anymore and decides to break up their three year relationship. Robbie has hit rock bottom. He is alone, sick, looking for answers and a sense of purpose while fighting depression and suicidal thoughts. The only thing left is his music.



Reviews


Through the eyes of a young musician diagnosed with Parkinson’s, the documentary Musically Medicated follows him into the dark and trembling soul of the disease where he tries to cope with losing the ability to control his body and mind. We experience the transformation of a young man into a new life where medication is the only way to live.

Filled with great photography, heartfelt music and space for interpretation, Gabi Kislat made a sensitive and respectful documentary where she takes the viewer softly by the hand and guides him through the unexplored waters of this tabooed disease.

This documentary will echo in your head.

—Ben Scharf, writer, director



I absolutely love this film! It generated a wide range of emotions in me— it’s powerful and beautifully put together. The honesty of it is fantastic, and it flows seamlessly from scene to scene.

—Gord Carley, author of Surviving Adversity: Living With Parkinson’s Disease



News




Here's an update on Robbie's condition today: Robbie has established a well-functioning lifestyle for himself: yoga, healthy nutrition, working out at the gym and a steady intake of his medication makes his life much more stable and enjoyable. “Back then”, he remembers “during filming, the biggest problems were not being able to sleep and sometimes not being able to move. Let’s not forget to mention the insane side effects of my medication.” Consequently he had been forced to stop working and life as he knew it, had changed. 
So what did he do to improve his situation? "Changing neurologists was key", he says. His new doctor informed him that he needed to change his medication immediately. After that, things really started to turn around. In Robbie’s case the medication "Stalevo" works well and continues to provide a great level of stability without any side effects. He follows a steady schedule and takes his medication every 3 hours. 
In fact, he became so well that Robbie recently completed his first yoga teacher training and is currently teaching yoga at Ashtanga Yoga Studios in Montreal and the YMCA! Here’s his message to other diagnosed people who struggle with the disease, drugs and/or side effects: “It’s a self-rediscovery. Take measures in your own life. Nobody will do it for you, especially not the health care system. See what works for you and what doesn’t. Discover your new limits and accept them. Learn how to live in this new body of yours with this new rules. And don’t forget: everything has an effect on your body: smoking, nutrition, etc. Once you figure out what your limits and rules are that you need to live by now, then you can start to implement positive things.” For Robbie, strengthening his body was crucial to his recovery. He’s currently writing his first short film and he’s planning to record some of the many new songs he's written. I’m certainly looking forward to that!






Montreal's Cegeps and high schools, here we come! Our educational film tour of Musically Medicated will start soon. Robbie and I will present the film to adolescents in their classroom to discuss drugs and addiction, gender issues, relationships, the power of music, creativity and Québec healthcare. Exciting!




February 29, 2014 — There it is! The Gazette article for Musically Medicated. The screening at the Rendez-Vous du Cinéma Québecois is tomorrow at 1pm at the UQAM Theatre.






February 26, 2014 — Tune in to 91.9 FM tomorrow at 3pm. Patrick Masbourian, who moderates the ICI Radio Canada daily radio show "PM," and Gabi will talk about Musically Medicated.




Robbie and I have received our full access passes for the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2013. The festival took great care of us and it was a true pleasure to have been invited there to show Musically Medicated for the first time to the world. Big thanks as well to Keith Bacon who moderated the Q&A session after the screening.






Musically Medicated has its official Canadian premiere at the Rendez-Vous du Cinéma Québécois 2014! It is in competition for Prix du Public Télé-Québec and Prix Pierre et Yolande Perreault. It plays on March 1st at the Pavillon Judith-Jasmin at UQAM at 13h. Tickets $11. In presence of the director Gabi Kislat, and the film's protagonist Robbie Tucker.

Link: http://www.rvcq.com/festival-32e/programmation/films/1679/musically-medicated




Musically Medicated has been listed in the News section under “5 Must-See-Premieres” at the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, next to “Whoopi Goldberg presents Moms Mabley,” and “Stranger By The Lake” which is the Winner of the Queer Palm and Best Director awards at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

Link: http://www.threedollarbillcinema.org/2013/news/premieres-2013






Musically Medicated will have its World Premiere at the 18th Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2013! Robbie and Gabi will both fly over to present the film. The screening is October 17th at 5:45pm at the NorthWest Forum in Seattle, Washington.

Film Festival website: http://www.threedollarbillcinema.org/2013




Musically Medicated played at McGill University in Montreal to an audience of neurologists, students and university staff. About half of the audience were there as part of a Parkinson’s Disease educational program that runs in conjunction with the World Parkinson Congress starting October 1 in Montreal. This is the third year of the World Parkinson Congress in which experts, the Parkinson community, patients, friends and family come together.

Link to the World Parkinson Congress website: http://www.worldpdcongress.org
One of the organization’s programs that resonates with themes in the Musically Medicated film is "Workshop: Sexual issues in Parkinson’s disease: assessment and intervention." Check them out!




Background


I started shooting Musically Medicated just after I finished film school at Concordia University in 2008. At the beginning it was the story of a young man who had declared publicly that he would appear on Oprah Winfrey, play together with Paul McCartney, and raise $1 million for people with Parkinson’s, within the span of one year. But over the next few months, the subject of the film came to focus on how a young person deals with having to accept a neurodegenerative disease and the ups and downs that come with it and its medications. I followed Robbie for 18 months in his fight to come to grips with his new life.

The whole process of making this film took 5 years. It’s a truly independent project, funded by myself, my partner, friends and people who believed in the film. It was financially supported by art grants by the Conseils des Arts et des Lettres (Quebec Arts Council), the Fondation du Maire de Montreal (Foundation of the Mayor of Montreal). I finished the film with the help of the ACIC program (Aid to Independent Cinema) of the Canadian National Film Board in May 2013. Through all that, I was able to keep complete creative control.



About Gabi Kislat


Gabi is a filmmaker, director of photography and social activist. Originally from Germany, she moved from Berlin to Montreal in 2004 to study Film Production at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University.  During her studies she received the “Michel Trudel Award for Outstanding Achievement” for her short film Dimicatio in 2005. Her first self-directed short documentary Sugarmakers (30min.) won Best Documentary at the Regina Film and Video Student Festival in 2007.

Together with her husband Emory Murchison, who is a sound engineer, she started the production company Hot Smoked Pictures in 2008. They applied for funding for their first production, the documentary Musically Medicated. The film examines the consequences of a mistreated disease on a young man’s life and tries to raise awareness about how prescription drugs, taken as prescribed in hospitals or from doctors, can lead to unimaginable side effects and even personality changes. For this 50 min. film, Gabi received grants from the Québec Arts Council (CALQ), the Foundation of the Mayor of Montreal (FMMJ) and from the National Film Board (NFB) for post-production services (Aide au Cinéma Indépendant program). Musically Medicated had its World Premiere at the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival in 2013. It screened in Canada during the 31st Rendez-Vous du Cinéma Québécois Film Festival in Montreal.  For more information, visit the Musically Medicated Facebook page.

Gabi and Emory teamed up on another Hot Smoked Pictures production called Cry Baby, which stars their 5 months old daughter on a flying motorbike, getting chased by a monster. This imaginative short film earned 2 Audience Awards, 1 inclusion in Best of Fest of the Kidsfilmfest  Brooklyn Film Festival and screenings in over 10 film festivals in the world. You can see the film here.

In 2013, Gabi teamed up with two other filmmakers, Geneva Guerin and Martine Asselin. They started a filmmaker co-op in Montreal called Cinécoop. So far, they have received Sodec and Canada Council grants as well as television fundings for their projects. For more information, visit the Cinécoop website.

Gabi makes her living foremost as a director of photography. Her first Best Cinematography and Best Film nomination dated back to 2007 just after she had finished University, for the short film The Getaway, which was shot on s-16mm, at the Young-Cuts Film Festival. Her most recent awards and nominations of projects on which she had completed principal photography, has been, for example: Maîtres de L'illusion - au dela de la Magie with Luc Langevin for Best Documentary: Culture at Les Prix Gemeaux 2014 and Catching A Lion (35mm short fiction) for Best Film at Bell Media Award Competition 2014. Gabi’s first feature documentary as DoP, Ceux Qui Sont Là, won the Golden Sheaf for Best Autobiography Documentary at the Yorkton Film Festival in 2011 and played in several theaters across Québec. Her first feature fiction film, Lucky 7, won an Audience Award at the Hamilton Film Festival in 2011. For a complete list of awards and nominations as director of photography and filmmaker, please see her résumé.

Gabi lives currently with her husband and daughter in Montreal and speaks fluent English, German and French.

View résumé
View filmography



Contact


Email — gabi.kislat(at)gmail.com

Hot Smoked Pictures — www.hotsmokedpictures.com

Cine Co-op — cinecoop.ca

Musically MedicatedFacebook Page

Musically MedicatedOfficial Site







Fondation Du Maire Montreal CALQ Cinefilms Entreprises Video Service BamProd ACIC Hot Smoked Pictures