Crohn's Disease takes center stage in CIFF - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Crohn's Disease takes center stage in CIFF

One woman's battle with Crohn's Disease featured at CIFF (Source: Facebook) One woman's battle with Crohn's Disease featured at CIFF (Source: Facebook)
For 26-year-old Dana Marshall-Berstein, living with Crohn's Disease has been a private struggle. 

But now that battle is the center of a film featured this week at the Cleveland International Film Festival

"Semicolon: The Adventures of Ostomy Girl" documents Dana's journey from her home in Las Vegas to the Cleveland Clinic where she is being treated for the chronic inflammatory bowel disease.

Dana Marshall-Berstein was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease when she was four.

"For me, I get an overall yucky feeling, really bad stomach aches, and it's horrible in the sense that it's so isolating," said Marshall-Bernstein. 

"The problem with having something called inflammatory bowel disease, is the word bowel because people don't want to talk about that," Marshall-Berstein explains in a short clip of the film.

Family friend and film director Robin Greenspun accepted the challenge of bringing Dana's story to an audience.

"My mom was like, you know, I wish someone could just document her with a camera, and Robin said why don't we?" said Marshall-Berstein. 

Greenspun lives in Las Vegas but calls "Semicolon" a hometown film.

"The crew is from Cleveland, and 90 percent of the film was shot here. Even though we all live in Vegas it's exciting to bring the film back to the Cleveland Film Festival," said Greenspun.

Greenspun, who has known Marshall-Berstein since she was a small child, describes the film as an informational and emotional experience that will go beyond the surface of the general perception of Crohn's Disease.

"The audience should expect to laugh, to cry, and see a young a woman who has strength beyond her years," said Greenspun. 

Though the film's production is finished, Marshall-Bernstein's fight with the disease continues.

Doctors at Cleveland Clinic are are working to add Dana to a waiting list for a small bowel transplant, and if all goes well, this will be her last major surgery. 

"It makes me antsy. I don't know how to feel."

Marshall-Bernstein says her film is doing exactly what she hoped: bringing awareness to Crohn's.

"It's when people I don't even know come up to me and say, 'I was able to talk to my boss about it thank you!' That blows my mind." 

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