Docuseries Earns Award for Depicting Lives of MG Patients

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by Mary Chapman |

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Digital-native marketing agency closerlook has garnered a bronze Pharma Lion for a documentary series that depicts life with myasthenia gravis (MG). The award was announced at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France.

The docuseries “A Mystery to Me” focuses on revealing the hidden toll MG has on the life of three patients. The goal is to heighten awareness and understanding of the rare neuromuscular autoimmune disorder.

“The true winners of this award are the people living with myasthenia gravis,” Ryan Mason, closerlook’s chief strategy officer, said in a press release.

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“There is currently no cure for MG. Patients told us they feel unseen, unheard, and misunderstood. As we worked through the creative development of this project, we hoped to bring this hidden condition to the surface, acknowledge the challenges they face and celebrate their courage,” Mason said.

The docuseries resulted from a collaborative effort between closerlook, the global immunology company argenx, and the high-profile production company Sarofsky, which also creates documentaries.

For “A Mystery to Me,” Sarofsky worked with Kartemquin Films and Museum + Crane to bring the patients’ intimate stories to life. The project was directed by Ben Strang, who won an award at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival for his directorial work on the widely acclaimed short film “Beast.”

“Everyone involved in the creation of this docuseries was humbled by the announcement,” said Mason. “The path to innovation, to excellence in creativity, and to meaningful connection with people living with a rare disease is the path of empathy. An unswerving commitment to genuine empathy is at the heart of  ‘A Mystery to Me.'”

MG patients depicted in the docuseries filmed themselves during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure their safety, Strang and the production crew came up with a fully remote filming process that was limited to video and phone calls.

The documentary series’ subjects include Vanetta Drummer-Fenton, who had been a popular high school honor student, former dance instructor Teresa Hill-Putnam, and career firefighter Glenn Phillips.

“This win recognizes the power of emotional storytelling to create change,” said David Ormesher, closerlook’s CEO. “You must touch the heart to move the mind. It’s how we build not just awareness but understanding. We hope this recognition from Cannes Lions will help raise both recognition of the disease and support for people with MG.”

“A Mystery to Me” can be viewed on MG-United.com, a digital platform for the MG community that provides information and resources. The site offers lifestyle tips, including how to explain the disease to family members, simple recipes, and self-care suggestions.

2021 Myasthenia Gravis Survey Results

BioNews Survey Infographic

Myasthenia Gravis News conducted a survey from Feb. 11-March 28 to gain greater insight into the characteristics of the MG community and disease management. Results of the survey have now been published. Click on the image to view the infographic, and click here to read the story.