Review: 'The Celiac Project' shines a much-needed light on the often misunderstood ailment of Celiac Disease
Celiac Disease - you may be surprised to find out - is not an "allergy" or a "sensitivity" to gluten. It is, in fact, an auto-immune disease, in which the body attacks the protein "gluten" (found in wheat, barley and rye) once it enters the digestive system.
The beauty of the new documentary "The Celiac Project," is that it is not a chalkboard lecture. Instead, filmmaker Michael Frolichstein dives into his own Celiac diagnosis, and the diagnosis of one of his young nephews, giving the audience a personalized Celiac story that is far more effective than what someone can ascertain about the Disease from a blog post or textbook.
In "The Celiac Project" (now available on Amazon Prime Video), Frolichstein doesn't spend too much time explaining...a rarity for the documentary genre. He instead does a lot of showing. Yes, there are several interviews with doctors, scientists and "average" people knowledgeable about Celiac, but he also gives us a front-seat to a teenager's experience with the Disease...from diagnosis all the way to learning to live with it...and not just for his nephew but for the entirety of his family as well.
Full disclosure: Celiac Disease is near-and-dear to my heart and life, as my wife was diagnosed with it at age 27. I know first-hand how it affects and alters one's life, and the lives of those close to the inflicted person. What I also know is how muddled her condition is perceived by the outside world, who have watched the "gluten-free" craze reach its peak in recent years.
We've experienced the eye rolls from waiters at restaurants when we ask about kitchen and staff preparedness when it comes to gluten (cross-contamination being a big issue), thinking that we're following some new LA diet or fad. We've also given some eye rolls ourselves when we hear from "gluten-sensitive" friends who like to sneak a cupcake just "once in a while" and who really don't have any idea whatsoever what it is like living with a condition where, if you happen to eat the wrong food or aren't aware of the ingredients or the preparation methods, even a trace amount can leave you sick for WEEKS...and may have even longer life-altering affects on your health.
Frolichstein lays out his film in an effort to make others aware of Celiac, but also does a great job of confronting many of the myths and many of the question-marks that still surround the Disease to this day. In raising awareness, the hope is to advance the conversation which will in-turn hopefully lead to some real traction on studying and even possibly curing Celiac Disease in the future.
"The Celiac Project" can be found on Amazon Prime, and you can also help Frolichstein's efforts by purchasing a DVD or donating. In addition to this film, if you're interested in expanding your own awareness of Celiac Disease, I urge everyone to also check out his "The Celiac Project Podcast," which can be found on iTunes, Google Play and Spotify.
For more information, visit: www.CeliacProject.com.
Run Time: 56 minutes.
Directed by Michael Frolichstein (www.celiacproject.com)
"The Celiac Project" is now available for rental or purchase at Amazon Prime Video.
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