Shannon Catalano de Plano in a locally produced documentary

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It’s been quite a year for Shannon Catalano de Plano. In March, she tackled Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness about kidney donation.

“It was the trip of a lifetime and we got so much press highlighting the cause,” she says. “Same hello america picked up.”

Now Catalano has been cast in a film about the human experiences that come with donating a kidney. “CrowdSource for Life,” produced by Dallas-based production company Maitri River Productions, will feature seventeen kidney donors in a non-fiction narrative documentary. Catalano and the rest of the cast will work with Chicago’s 2n/a Story theater company to turn their experiences into monologues. These narrative monologues will eventually be performed live in Dallas where they will be recorded for the feature film.

“We get incredible, unique content from undirected kidney donors,” says director and executive producer Donald Griswold. “Science regards them as the most extreme altruists in our society. Due to the rarity of their donations, living kidney donors like Shannon take us on a deep and unexpected dive into what giving really means. “CrowdSource for Life” is not a documentary about living kidney donation; it is about the human experiences that accompany the gift.

According to producer and cast member Laurie Lee, having a diverse cast for the film was important. There is a racial disparity in kidney transplants and donations, with white people four times more likely to receive a kidney transplant than black people.

“Every organ donation story is different, and that’s reflected in our cast,” she said. “We have seventeen completely different perspectives on the process, effects and experience of giving. There is something in this show for everyone.

Many kidney transplant and donation organizations joined in the effort to increase the film’s $300,000 production budget. Transplant Village, Organ Transplant Support, Kidney Donor Conversations, and PKD Outreach Foundation all helped, along with private donors, raise more than $156,000 for the production of the film in just a few months. Tax-deductible donations to CrowdSource for Life can be made at crowdsourceforlife.com.

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