It’s been quite a year for Plano’s Shannon Catalano. In March she tackled Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness for kidney donation.
“It was the trip of a lifetime and we got so much press highlighting the cause,” she says. “Even Good Morning America picked it up.”
Now Catalano has been cast in a film about the human experiences that comes from giving a kidney. “CrowdSource for Life,” produced by Dallas-based production company Maitri River Productions, will feature seventeen kidney donors in a narrative non-fiction documentary. Catalano and the rest of the cast will work with Chicago’s 2nd Story theatre company to turn their experiences into monologues. Those storytelling monologues will eventually be performed live in Dallas where they will be recorded for the feature film.
“We get amazing and unique content from non-directed kidney donors,” director and executive producer Donald Griswold says. “Science considers them to be our society’s most extreme altruists. Because of the rare nature of their giving, these living kidney donors like Shannon take us on a deep unexpected dive into what it really means to give. ‘CrowdSource for Life’ isn’t a documentary about living kidney donation; it’s about the human experiences that come with giving.”
According to producer and cast member Laurie Lee, it was important to have a diverse cast for the film. 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 is reflected in our cast,” she said. “We have seventeen completely different takes on the process, the effects, and the experience of giving. There is something in this show for everyone.”
Numerous kidney transplant and donation organizations have joined the effort to raise the film’s $300,000 production budget. Transplant Village, Organ Transplant Support, Kidney Donor Conversations and PKD Outreach Foundation have all contributed, together with private individual donors, to raise more than $156,000 for the film’s production in just a few months. Tax-deductible donations to “CrowdSource for Life” can be made at crowdsourceforlife.com.