Nicholas Brookman Directed the film, which won the Audience Award and a Special Jury Award at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival, three IDA Award nominations, and earned Barkan honors at the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards and Cinema Eye Honors Awards. not going silent Theatrically released last August by Greenwich Entertainment and later aired as part of the PBS series pov Before it was acquired by Hulu.
At the age of 32, Barkan was diagnosed with ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease. He didn’t let his declining physical condition make an impact on national politics, as Politico described him, “the most powerful activist in America.”
He fought to pass President Biden’s Build Back Better legislation, which made it through the House but failed due to a lack of support from Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia in the Senate. Among other things, the bill would have provided funding for health care in residential and community settings for people with chronic conditions, such as Barkan, who require significant support from medical caregivers.
“Five years ago, when I was diagnosed with ALS, I had a hard hand,” Barkan said in a Q&A for the film in Washington DC last December. “But a lot of people are dealt with with tough hands. Our country is dealing with tough hands right now, and the question is how do we respond to that adversity. ,
Barkan first gained widespread notoriety in 2017 when he confronted then-Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Fleck on an airplane, questioning his support for a Trump-backed tax reform bill that would have introduced massive automatic cuts to health care. Threatened to trigger and put his care in jeopardy. The exchange went viral after a video of it was posted online. In the years that followed, he was arrested more than half a dozen times in various protests.
Brookman filmed Barkan in several of those protests, and followed him as he broke through the country in a successful attempt to switch the House from Republican to Democratic control in 2018 while supporting Democratic candidates. The director also filmed touching scenes on the West Coast with Barkan, his wife Rachel and their young son Carl.
“I went out to Santa Barbara, met him, and the first thing I shot with him is in the movie when he [shirtless]…and Rachel is fixing her hair,” Brookman recalled during a Q&A in Los Angeles last summer. “And that was the moment when I had some more flexibility in this story and because of the grace and humor with which Eddie turned this disease into a weapon to make a better world for his son and for all of us. “
executive producers of not going silent Bradley Whitford, Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, Denise Di Novi and Nina Tasler. Amanda Roddy produced and co-wrote the film with Brookman.
,[Barkan] It did a really incredible job of putting your body and your life at stake to fight for this country,” Roddy said at the LA Q&A last summer. “You think, if he can do it, anyone can do it. Anyone can do anything and it’s really a matter of life or death for so many people and for all of us to fight for our democracy.” Something has to be done. We can’t really be bystanders.”