Wichita Teen Featured In Documentary At Film Festival

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

After three years of filming, a Wichita teen will get to see the documentary featuring her story at the 9th annual Tallgrass Film Festival.

"I don't think either one of us really knew that it was going to start making its way across America," said Shannon Schrag, mother. "We never would've thought we'd be in a film," said Gabi Swank.

"The Greater Good" shows an intimate look at the life of Gabi and her family. Her life changed forever with the HPV vaccine, a shot doctors believe have caused her brain swelling and seizures.

"I thought after high school, okay, it's going to be a new start," said Gabi. "I got to college and I'm 18. I'm one of the only ones that can't drive to college. I'm one of the only ones that has to sit there and wait for my mom to come pick me up after class."

The documentary film features three families affected by vaccines, including Gabi's story.

"I think the meaning behind the film has something different for everyone. For us, what we did was allow people in so that they could be more informed," said Schrag.

"The Greater Good" premiered at the Dallas International Film Festival. It will be one of the 45 feature films at the 9th annual Tallgrass Film Festival. Today, organizers had a kickoff party to show the coming attractions.

"Tallgrass, while we certainly never want to offend, we never shy away from controversy. And I would certainly say that some of the subject matter in 'The Greater Good' could be considered controversial," said Nick Pope, co-director of programming for the Tallgrass Film Festival.

It is the controversial nature of the topic that Gabi's family hopes will build dialogue about vaccines.

"It's going to hopefully impact everyone a little differently. I think the big message that I hope they can take away is educate yourself," said Schrag.

The Tallgrass Film Festival will be held Oct. 20-23. To learn more about the festival, click here.

"The Greater Good" will be featured at the Festival on Oct. 21 and Oct. 23. For more information about the film, click here.

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