Morehouse College Human Rights Film Fest

Thalidomide in the USA: the Forgotten Survivors

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"It's time to let the world know we do exist ... the US did not escape the thalidomide tragedy; it just got forgotten."


This documentary with first-ever seen footage, by and about United States thalidomide survivors, chronicles their decades-long journey to find the truth about distribution of the drug in the US, and its devastating effects. Born with multiple limb anomalies, as well as, often, internal damage or damage to the eyes and ears, US survivors struggled uphill to find the facts, each "individual souls, in this vast country, trying to each separately make our way in a sea of misinformation." It explores an apparent news story that has hovered under the radar of public awareness now for 60 years.


For the audience that thinks thalidomide had never been available in the USA, this is a must-watch. The film follows 10 individuals with thalidomide injuries, who meet for the first time in their late 50s, and convene in San Diego for a 2019 conference to "uncover the lie, and share the outrage," as well as some tears, and more than a few laughs. Features historical background by author and researcher, Jennifer Vanderbes, as well as the scientific expertise of Neil Vargesson, and the music of Toad the Wet Sprocket.


It is the public Producer/Director debut for C. Jean Grover, herself a thalidomide survivor. Also debuting as Associate Producers: Andrew Penner and Yasin Daulat.

  • Year
    2021
  • Runtime
    40 minutes
  • Language
    English
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    C. Jean Grover
  • Screenwriter
    C. Jean Grover
  • Producer
    C. Jean Grover, Andrew J. Penner, Yasin Daulat-Mohammed