Telling a first-person story as a first-time filmmaker was a little unnerving to put it mildly. When I made my directorial debut on my feature documentary In the Family it was not alone and not by coincidence that it happened during my tenure at Kartemquin Films. I immediately thought about my early days telling my story when I met with filmmakers Kelsey Peterson and Madeline Brown and why I decided to come on board as an Executive Producer on their film (and my dear collaborator and editor Eli Olson is attached to the project). They were first-time directors like I had been 15 years ago, and Kelsey was telling a personal story. On July 3, 2012, Kelsey dove off of a boat in the dark of night on Lake Superior off the coast of Madeline Island. She emerged as a C6 quadriplegic and her dancer’s body that was always in motion was suddenly still. Submerged follows Kelsey and Maddie on an epic tragicomic road trip across an inaccessible country to connect with others in the spinal cord community, living across a spectrum of hope and acceptance. Kelsey finds her voice in the movement for a cure. A movement that has been quieted since losing its leader Christopher Reeve. Buoyed by new trials with implantable electrode stimulant devices, Kelsey will not give up hope. She is currently applying for such a clinical trial in Minnesota. She may not be dancing again, but just regaining hand movement would give her an enormous amount of independence. She is willing to take the risk of another surgery and the unknowns of the trial to possibly open the door for a stranger again.
Stay tuned for our trailer and to hear updates on Kelsey and the film.