Tim Hall honors his sister Lori with a documentary on Lyme Disease
By Robert Downes 8/31/09
Filmmaker Tim Hall will see his labor of love up on the screen at the State Theater in Traverse City this Monday, Aug. 31, with Under the Eightball, which promises to be a hard-hitting documentary.
A director, musician and activist in progressive causes, Tim is the brother of Traverse City writer Lori Hall-Steele, whose death at an early age last year inspired his film tribute. Heres what he had to say about the film on the eve of its premiere:
NE: What is Under the Eightball about?
Hall: The first half of Under the Eightball chronicles my sister, Lori Hall-Steele and her battle with Lyme disease. What many people dont understand is the controversy that surrounds Lyme disease, stemming in part from conflicts of interest rooted in financial gain for key precedent makers in the medical and scientific community.
Because the disease can mimic over 300 different illnesses, including ALS, many doctors dont even bother with it, or due to lack of knowledge, cant correctly diagnose it. Plus, you have rapidly spreading co-infections that can effect the severity of Lyme disease, and that are even less understood, requiring a vast array of treatments.
The second half of the film asks the question who is responsible? The answer is widespread. The environment; insurance and pharmaceutical companies; medical boards; biological weapons development; ego; greed. Weve taken on the difficult task of boiling down years worth of information and presenting it to our audience in a comprehensible and entertaining form.
NE: How did you decide to make the film?
Hall: When Lori became ill my only impulse was to drop everything and devote myself to saving her. Luckily, I was able to find funding which allowed me to pursue answers and at the same time document Loris story, so no one else would have to experience this again. My girlfriend, Breanne Russell, quit her job and together we searched for ways to save Lori, a journey which has taken us across the country and back.
NE: Your press release states that Lyme disease has roots in the U.S. Governments Bio-warfare Program. Is this supported by medical literature?
Hall: In one of our interviews, author and physicist Jerry Leonard is quoted as saying: The information is out there. All you have to do is pick up a book. This is a sad reality. The information is out there, for anyone who seeks it. The problem I suppose, is that unless you have the impetus to know, youd rather not. Jerry Leonard will be present for the screening Monday evening.
After the films release, we will be providing a complete list of footnotes, if you will, which will be accessible on our website undertheeightball.com.
NE: Didnt Lyme disease exist before such a bio-warfare program was developed?
Hall: Thats a good question. Many will say that yes it did exist, or what symptomatically looked like Lyme before the outbreak in Lyme, Connecticut. They use this as a reason for why Lyme disease couldnt possibly be a biological weapon. Well, that just doesnt make sense. Just look at anthrax, a naturally-occurring virus that was taken into a lab and genetically altered to be antibiotic-resistant. Weaponization of viruses and bacteria has existed since biblical times. The world has never seen an outbreak, an endemic of this disease or anything symptomatically similar in our recorded history... until the apex of our biological weapons studies, 11 miles from a biological research facility.
NE: How did you get the scoop on this ahead of news organizations such as the New York Times?
Hall: Perhaps newspapers didnt have the impetus that we did -- trying to save a dying sibling. The information has been reported, in pieces. When presented in small segments it is difficult to see the entire picture. We feel we have effectively unravelled a complex and extremely complicated knot.
NE: Has making the film been a tough experience for you?
Hall: One of the hardest things Ive ever done.
NE: What was your budget?
Hall: When you are trying to accomplish a film in an extremely short period of time a budget is essential. It allowed us to travel and meet people that could help Lori. We were very fortunate to find someone that believed in our cause and our talent to help us accomplish this great feat.
NE: Why are you listed as Timothy Grey for writer, director and editor instead of your real name?
Hall: Trying to spice it up for homeland security.
NE: Whats your background as a filmmaker?
Hall: I have released one film, VOW and another Lower the Sun is in post production. Breanne and I plan on finishing that this fall.
NE: Your picture is prominent in the poster. Are you in the film?
NE: What is your plan for marketing Under the Eightball?
Hall: After we premiere on Monday, August 31, we hope interest sparks a longer run in the area. We have a few screenings planned on the East Coast and will be planning a national release for the fall. Interested parties can subscribe on our website to stay updated.
NE: What would you like to see happen as a result of your film?
Hall: We hope weve created something that will help demystify a difficult subject to understand, or even accept. The fact remains, these studies were done and the effects are immeasurable because the records are classified, top secret, and in some cases destroyed. It is a constitutional issue, these studies greatly intrude on an individuals right to pursue happiness, liberty, and ultimately.... life. Our main goal is to spark enough interest and outcry that government on a federal level will be forced to investigate these claims.