When Oscar-winning documentarian and LGBTQ activist Deborah Chasnoff is diagnosed with breast cancer, she turns the camera on herself and her chosen queer family. Underpinned by their decision to not hear her prognosis, ‘Chas’ and her wife Nancy Otto voice the tensions between the Jewish desire to focus on the diagnosis and possible interventions, and the Buddhist desire to accept and hold it. A raw, surprisingly funny portrait emerges of how Chasnoff’s calling to repair the world, or tikkun olam, shifts as she navigates terminal illness, philosophical frictions, and receiving end-of-life care from her own community.
Nancy Otto is Debra Chasnoff’s wife and featured in PROGNOSIS – notes on living. She consulted on the final stages of Chasnoff’s films and on the administration of Groundspark. Nancy is also a senior consultant at Klein and Roth Consulting, working exclusively with nonprofit organizations to build and strengthen their individual donor programs. Nancy was the video editor for WTVD-TV News, an ABC affiliate, in Durham, NC. Nancy also is a conceptual artist working with blown glass she creates.
Joan Lefkowitz, a technologist since the 1970s, began with her work at Resource One, the first people’s computer center. Her career has included engineering jobs doing live sound, radio, television and video editing with one exhilarating year of editing Deadly Deception with Debra Chasnoff. In addition she has created and maintained websites for a variety of groups and individuals including a long stint as web manager at the SF Public Library. Her goals have always focused on getting free information to those who need it the most.
Kate Stilley Steiner is the co-founder of the not-for-profit media organization, Citizen Film. Her most-recent producing credits include American Creed slated for a national PBS rollout in 2018, and editing credits include documentaries for PBS, The Learning Channel, ABC and Fox. Debra Chasnoff’s long-time collaborator, Kate edited several films with Chasnoff, including two in the Respect for All series, and they co-produced several titles together, including One Wedding and a Revolution.