BURBANK, Calif., May 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The quest for a better, fuller life helped twin sisters, Anabel (Ana) and Isabel (Isa) Stenzel, miraculously beat the odds in their battle with the fatal genetic disease cystic fibrosis (CF). A story of twin sisters, two cultures, and two new chances at life, KCETLink debuts a special television premiere of the award-winning documentary The Power Of Two on KCET in Southern California and nationally on Link TV (DISH channel 9410 and DIRECTV channel 375) May 22 at 8 p.m. PDT and EDT. Additional broadcasts include Saturday, May 25 at 9 p.m. PDT and EDT and Monday, May 27 at 8 p.m. PDT and EDT. Viewers can also see the film for free online through June 30, 2013 at www.thepoweroftwo.tv.
Inspired by their 2007 memoir, The Power of Two: A Twin Triumph Over Cystic Fibrosis, this poignant documentary offers an intimate portrayal of the bond between Japanese-American twin sisters, their battle with a disabling and life-shortening illness, and their extraordinary survival through double lung transplants.
The special KCETLink presentation of The Power Of Two, which also honors the sisters as part of Asian Pacific American Heritage month, is a unique initiative that uses cross media collaboration to activate its audience across multiple distribution platforms. Driven by a "SAY YES! to Organ Donation" message, KCETLink is working with partner organizations across the U.S. to help educate audiences about the importance of organ donation.
A custom designed website (www.thepoweroftwo.tv) serves as a critical gateway for the multi-dimensional initiative that allows audiences to access additional information, including exclusive clips, interviews with recipients of organ transplants, donor families and transplant experts, as well as shareable media and resources for organ transplants and where to register to become an organ donor. Viewers are invited to post a "SAY YES! To Organ Donation!" badge on their Facebook page, blog or website.
"As we recognize Cystic Fibrosis Awareness month and pay tribute to all those living with the disease, KCETLink is pleased to offer The Power Of Two as an inspirational story that shines a spotlight on Ana and Isa's perseverance and strength throughout their incredible journey to health and their dedication to helping others with CF," said Paul S. Mason, Chief Strategy Officer, KCETLink. "We also sought to take this opportunity to educate our audiences about the potential for organ donation and the life-changing impact that donors can have on those suffering from CF and other diseases."
Featuring archival footage and probing expert interviews, this feature directorial debut of Academy Award® nominated producer Marc Smolowitz (The Weather Underground) presents a multi-faceted portrayal of two societies with contrasting views about this triumph of modern medicine. In the U.S. the twins thrive, rejoicing in their ability to breathe with healthy lungs, sharing their story, mentoring others on the same path, and experiencing unexpected life milestones. Receiving new lungs, however, would have been unlikely in their mother's native country, Japan, where organ donation rates are strikingly low.
At the crux of a rising movement to change laws and debunk stigmas, the film features Ana and Isa in Japan on a mission to inspire change in the hearts and minds of a people resistant to transplantation. Evocative without being sentimental, The Power Of Two reveals the twins not as heroines, but as authentic women. It also examines the relationships between individual CF sufferers, relationships between organ recipients and their donor families and even the spiritual bond between the recipients and the deceased donors who have made a better life attainable through extraordinary acts of generosity.
Ana and Isa, who grew up in Pacific Palisades, Calif., continuously strive to help those suffering with CF to improve their lives and mobilize a cure for the disease. Defying all odds, the sisters have emerged as authors, athletes and global advocates for organ donation, and their connection to the CF and transplant communities provides rare insight into the struggles of chronic illness, and some unexpected joys.
The Power Of Two premiered in Los Angeles and New York in August 2011 at the International Documentary Association's showcase, DocuWeeks. Its international premiere was at the 2011 Tokyo International Film Festival. The film has garnered 10 awards and screened at 30 film festivals, as well as numerous community showings on three continents.
The film is directed by Marc Smolowitz and is co-produced by Smolowitz and Andrew Byrnes. The executive producer is Chris Kelly; the director of photography is Nickolas Dylan Rossi. The editors are Thomas Eugene Green and Matthew Sultan; the original music is by Tim Easton and Kyle Moorman.
Funding for the broadcasts on KCET and Link TV and the national television engagement campaign has been provided by the Wyncote Foundation. To learn more about the film or to support organ donation, please visit www.thepoweroftwo.tv.
HOW TO TUNE IN
Link TV: Nationally via DirecTV 375 and DISH Network 9410)
KCET-HD: Southern California, channels may vary, visit www.kcet.org/findkcet)
KCETLINK: Southern California digital 28.2
KCETLink, formed by the merger between KCET and Link Media, is a national independent, nonprofit, digital and broadcast network that provides high-quality, culturally diverse programming designed to engage the public in innovative, entertaining and transformative ways. With a commitment to independent perspectives, smart global entertainment, local communities, and opportunities for engagement and social action, KCETLink depicts people and the world through a lens unavailable elsewhere in U.S. media. A viewer-supported 501(c)(3) organization, KCETLink content is distributed via satellite on DirecTV 375 and DISH Network 9410, in Southern and Central California via broadcast, as well as through various digital delivery systems. KCET and Link TV are services of KCETLink. For additional information about KCET and Link TV productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org or linktv.org.
ABOUT The Stenzel Twins
Anabel Mariko Stenzel (Ana) and Isabel Yuriko Stenzel Byrnes (Isa) are identical twins who were born in LA in 1972 to Japanese and German immigrant parents. At three days old, Ana and Isa were diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF), a fatal genetic disease that impacts the lungs and pancreas; their doctor told their parents they would be lucky to live to reach 10 years of age. For decades, Ana and Isa struggled to maintain their health with rigorous daily respiratory and digestive treatments. Working together, they survived and thrived into adulthood, graduated from college and graduate school, started careers as a genetic counselor (Ana) and social worker (Isa), and developed loving relationships.
ABOUT Marc Smolowitz
Marc Smolowitz is an Academy Award ® nominated film, television and new media producer and director (The Weather Underground and Trembling Before G-d). He also serves as a consultant to a diverse slate of San Francisco-based media and technology companies. Most recently, he was the producer at TellyTopia, a Silicon Valley new media company specializing in IP-TV and VOD product functionality for cable companies. Currently, he is adjunct faculty in the digital filmmaking and video production program at the Art Institute of California in San Francisco, and serves as chair of the Board of Directors of San Francisco Public Press, a local news startup. Recent films include, Still Around, a short film compilation that brings together filmmakers working in creative collaboration with people living with HIV/AIDS.