About 100 pounds overweight, loaded up on steroids and suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease, Joe Cross is at the end of his rope and the end of his hope. In the mirror he saw a 310-lb man whose gut was bigger than a beach ball and a path laid out before him that wouldn’t end well— with one foot already in the grave, the other wasn’t far behind. “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” is an inspiring film that chronicles Joe’s personal mission to regain his health.
With doctors and conventional medicines unable to help long- term, Joe turns to the only option left, the body’s ability to heal itself. He trades in the junk food and hits the road with juicer and generator in tow, vowing only to drink fresh fruit and vegetable juice for the next 60 days. Across 3,000 miles Joe has one goal in mind: To get off his pills and achieve a balanced lifestyle.
While talking to more than 500 Americans about food, health and longevity, it’s at a truck stop in Arizona where Joe meets a truck driver who suffers from the same rare condition. Phil Staples is morbidly obese weighing in at 429 pounds; a cheeseburger away from a heart-attack. As Joe is recovering his health, Phil begins his own epic journey to get well.
What emerges is nothing short of amazing – an inspiring tale of healing and human connection. Part road trip, part self-help manifesto, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” defies the traditional documentary format to present an unconventional and uplifting story of two men from different worlds who each realize that the only person who can save them is themselves.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Joe Cross is an Australian entrepreneur and investor who invests in early stage high potential growth companies. These include investments in the fashion, transportation, private equity finance, derivatives trading, early childhood education, structural steel distribution and health and wellness sectors.
Joe began his business career as a trader on the Sydney Futures Exchange where he worked from the early 1980s until 1998. During this time, Joe founded several companies in the derivatives trading and technology space.
From the late 1990s until 2003, Joe managed a diverse portfolio of assets in telecommunications, media, technology and financial services for Queensland Press Ltd, a wholly owned company of News Corp. During 2003, Joe began investing his own capital through his investment vehicle Jaymsea Investments Pty Ltd. A number of these businesses have gone from a start up to a thriving and successful business in a few short years. Today, Jaymsea has a diverse portfolio of active investments with financial and managerial stakes in high potential growth companies. The portfolio includes: Thakoon, a leading US based high end fashion label; Willow, a high end Australian based fashion label; and Citibabes, a club and education centre for families with small children.
Joe founded Reboot Media; a health and lifestyle brand that creates entertaining and actionable educational media for anyone that is sick and tired of being sick and fat. Joe the Co-Director, Executive Producer, and the host and subject of Reboot Media’s first feature length film, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead”. Joe lives in Los Angeles.
Kurt Engfehr grew up next to a steel mill in a working class suburb of Detroit. After adventures around the country, he settled in New York City where he worked as an Avid editor at HBO, MSNBC and National Video Center. He edited promos and programs for Lifetime, CBS and ABC and was senior editor on Michael Moore’s Emmy nominated show The Awful Truth (1999).
In addition to editing, Kurt also created a series of short films featuring Chernobyl, the guitar playing penguin. Kurt then segued from TV to film with Bowling for Columbine (2002) for which he won the American Cinema Editors award for best documentary editing. Kurt’s film credits also include: co-producer and editor for the documentary A League of Ordinary Gentlemen (2004) [Audience Award, 2004 SXSW Film Festival]; co-producer and editor for Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11(2004); editor of Seamless(2005) a movie about NY fashion; editor of Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut, the documentary, A Place in Time (2007); co-producer and editor of Trumbo (2007) a documentary which uses letters to tell one man’s story of being a blacklisted writer in Hollywood during the 1950′s. He co-produced Taking Liberties (2007) a UK doc about the erosion of civil liberties under Tony Blair [BAFTA nomination for the director]; was co-producer of Bigger, Stronger, Faster* (2008) a documentary about steroids, cheating, and excess in America. He was also co-director of the political comedy/documentary The Yes Men Fix The World (2009) that is airing on HBO in the August of 2009.
Kurt is currently editing and producing a documentary about the band Manic Street Preachers, which Rolling Stone magazine called “the best band you’ve never heard of.”
Stacey Offman is an accomplished documentary and non-fiction television producer based in New York City. For the past 11 years, she has produced numerous feature length documentaries and a variety of programs and series for the IFC, Comedy Central, F/X Network, History Television and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Recently, Ms. Offman produced Morgan Spurlock’s Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? and the critically acclaimed What Would Jesus Buy?
Prior to producing with Spurlock, she served as supervising producer for Emmy-nominated Borderline TV (’03-’05) and was senior producer for five years with Academy-Award® nominated Paperny Films (’98-’03) in her native Canada.
Other producer credits include: KINK, the provocative IDA- nominated documentary series about alternative sexual lifestyles; Star Spangled Canadians, the acclaimed CBC documentary special profiling luminaries Peter Jennings, Graydon Carter and Ivan Reitman; The Boys of Buchenwald, a portrait of holocaust survivors featuring Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel; and the IFC documentary Celluloid Dreams, profiling surrealist filmmakers David Lynch, Jean Pierre Jeunet and Guy Maddin.
Christopher Seward has ten years experience including television editor for PBS, A&E, The History Channel, Nickelodeon, Discovery Channel and others. He has edited a wide range of documentary subjects including The History of African American Humour, AIDS at 21 and episodes of A&E’s Biography series.
Christopher has also edited feature documentaries including Fahrenheit 9/11 and Sicko. A navy veteran, Christopher is happy to finally blend his politics with his work. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife Sarah and his two children Ella and Sebastian.
Alison Amron is an award-winning documentary editor based in New York City. Working as an editor for over twenty years, with vast experience in both long- and short-form documentaries, Alison has worked with everyone from Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney to legendary journalist Bill Moyers.
Her work has been seen on ABC, PBS, CBS and the vast array of cable networks. Alison has also worked in the good company of Peter Jennings, Barbara Walters, Linda Ellerbee and Meredith Vieira.
Starting out as a cinematographer for WTNH in Connecticut, she quickly became chief photographer and studio manager learning all the ropes of local news while finding her true calling to be the craft of editing. Alison’s even temperament, artistic eye and natural producing instinct has made her a go-to person for network executives, producers and filmmakers alike. Alison’s documentaries have won a duPont Gold Baton, Emmys, GLADD Media Award, Cine Gold Eagles and numerous other awards.
When not spending summers on Fire Island, Alison can be found around New York taking photographs and completing the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle (in pen!).
A New York-based producer, researcher and development consultant, Miller-Monzon’s recent projects include Oscar winner THE COVE and Indie Spirit Award winner CRAZY LOVE. Additional credits include the Peabody Award winning doc miniseries BLACK MAGIC and the Emmy-nominated doc miniseries MARTIN SCORSESE PRESENTS THE BLUES: A MUSICAL JOURNEY and A DECADE UNDER THE INFLUENCE, as well as the cult sitcom STRANGERS WITH CANDY and THE SMOKING GUN TV.
A former film industry analyst, he has edited several film-related books, including PAST IMPERFECT: HISTORY ACCORDING TO THE MOVIES (Henry Holt & Company). Miller-Monzon trained extensively with the American Conservatory Theater before earning his B.A. at San Francisco State University and M.F.A. from Columbia University’s prestigious M.F.A. program in filmmaking.
His credits as writer-director include the award-winning shorts THINGS WE SAID TODAY and SOME OF THESE DAYS, which have both screened internationally. He’s currently developing ELODIA, which will mark his feature directorial debut.
Robert Mac is a second generation filmmaker and writer. His work has been screened at Festivals all over the world, including the Sundance Film Festival. His documentary Small Poppies featured academy award winning actor, Geoffrey Rush performing at the Dublin Theatre Festival. He is also the founding director of the world’s first writing marathon, Once Upon A Deadline. He was Executive Producer and of “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, a documentary exploring nutrition and natural health featuring Dr. Fuhrman and Joe Cross.
Shane Hodson is a Sydney based chartered accountant who over the last 5 years has assisted in managing Joe Cross’ portfolio of investments, including Reboot Media. Prior to this role, Shane was the Chief Operating Officer of the largest specialist advisory firm of its kind in Australia.
Shane has an intense personal interest in wellness, having written a number of MBA papers on wellness of a work force and staff productivity. Shane was also a former Ironman triathlete and Australian Full contact champion.
The challenges of balancing a busy work life, family and sporting activities presents a great setting to understanding the subject matter of the film, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”.
Jamin Mendelsohn has been working in documentary production for the past 5 years. She worked on Morgan Spurlock’s Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? and What Would Jesus Buy?; the PBS series e2 – Economies Of Being Environmentally Conscious, and most recently as the production manager for Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. Prior to her career in production, Jamin worked as an account executive at strategic communications agency MWW Group. She holds a M.S.J. from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a B.A. from the University of Virginia.
Karen Pelland is a freelance radio journalist who occasionally dabbles in documentary film. Prior to getting her start at WBUR public radio in Boston in 1999, however, she wandered the grey cubicles of corporate America, not quite sure what it was all about. After moving to New York in 2002, her work ranged from freelance radio gigs to non-profit consulting, documentary film production and book research. Lots of dog sitting, too. In addition to “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, her other documentary projects include Morgan Spurlock’s What Would Jesus Buy? and Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? When she’s not road tripping around the country, Karen currently lives in Santa Barbara, California, freelancing around town, as well as for NPR and other public radio outlets. She still does a ten-day juice fast once a year.