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March 17, 2010 > "May I Be Frank"

"May I Be Frank"

Independent documentary screening

Submitted By Sharon Xavier de Sousa

The Essanay Silent Film Museum/Edison Theater will be the screening of a film by remarkable young men whose mission to help someone in need led them to the production of their first film. The film was the official selection of the Sausalito Film Festival 2009 and will be entered in future film festivals around the country.

It is an amazing story of the transformation of one man's life - from a life of addiction, depression, obesity, ill health, and pain to reclaiming his life again. "May I Be Frank" is about Frank Ferrante, a 54 year old Sicilian from Brooklyn living in San Francisco. A lover of life, great food, beautiful women and a good laugh, Frank is also a drug addict, morbidly obese, pre-diabetic, and fighting Hepatitis C. He's estranged from his daughter, single, and struggling with depression. Frank knows that life can be better than this and is looking for a way out.

"May I Be Frank" documents the transformation of Frank Ferrante's life. He unknowingly stumbles into a local restaurant in San Francisco, Cafe Gratitude, a raw, organic and vegan cafe. As he becomes friends with the staff, he keeps returning to the cafe where he feels welcome and free from his collapsing personal life. On one such visit, Frank is asked by Ryland, one of the servers, "What is one thing you want to do before you die?" Frank replies "I want to fall in love one more time, but no one will love me looking the way I do."

Inspired by the possibility of helping Frank, Ryland invites him to come into the cafe every day for the next month. Armed with a camera and a wide open heart, Ryland soon enrolls his brother Cary, and Conor, his best friend, to participate in supporting Frank's transformation.

The final agreement is made that for the next 42 days, Frank will turn his life over to three twenty-something young men committed to his healing and prepared to coach him physically, emotionally and spiritually. Frank will eat only raw food, practice gratitude, visit local holistic practitioners, and get a weekly colonic. Ryland, Conor, and Cary support and witness Frank's miraculous transformation. Frank gets a new body, a clearer mind, and most importantly, a soaring spirit.

Over those 42 days, the four men go on the ride of their lives. Setting out to help Frank lose weight and get healthy, no one anticipated the profound impact this journey would have on the lives of countless others. Through Frank's story of love, redemption, and transformation, viewers witness the power of change for themselves and the world.

"May I Be Frank" documents the essence of the human condition and what it truly means to fall in love again.

My involvement in wanting to bring Frank's story to the Fremont/Tri-City community, or the Fremont connection, came from the fact that my daughter, Bettina de Sousa (born and raised in Fremont), manages a Cafe Gratitude in Healdsburg and knows the producers, who are also in the management of the restaurants. We attended a screening of the film at the Lucas Studios in San Rafael in December and were so touched by the film's message and the transformation of Frank (who together with the producers will be present for a "Q & A" following the screening), that we wanted to do whatever we could to bring Frank's story to our community.

Following the film and the Q & A, there will be a very special Farmer's Market Dinner at the Essanay Cafe down the street at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Reservations should be made for one or both parts of the event, as space is limited. Movie tickets will be available at the door, if there is space available.

"May I Be Frank"
Sunday, March 21
4 p.m.
Edison Theater
37417 Niles Blvd., Fremont
(510) 494-1411
At the theater or online or call (415) 548-0064
Admission: $10 (Museum members $8)
(Parental guidance: Some adult content, not appropriate for children under 13)

For dinner reservations call (510) 792-0112
Essanay Cafe
37533 Niles Blvd., Fremont

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