Jennifer Brea is an independent filmmaker based in Los Angeles. She has an AB from Princeton University and was a PhD student at Harvard until sudden illness left her bedridden. In the aftermath, she rediscovered her first love, film. Her Sundance award-winning, Emmy-nominated feature documentary, Unrest, has screened in over 30 countries and had its US national broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens. She is also co-creator of Unrest VR, winner of the Sheffield Doc/Fest Alternate Realities Award. An activist for people with disabilities and chronic illness, she co-founded a global advocacy network, #MEAction and is a TED Fellow.
Unrest is made by an award-winning team and is supported by the Sundance Institute, Chicken & Egg Pictures, the Harnisch Foundation, BRITDOC's Good Pitch, the Tribeca Film Institute, the Fledgling Fund, IFP, and over 2,593 Kickstarter backers. It premiered in the documentary competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, where it won a Special Jury Prize for editing. It was broadcast on PBS's Independent Lens in 2018 and nominated for a News & Documentary Emmy Award.
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Jennifer gave the highest-rated talk at the 2016 TED Summit in Banff, Canada, the first ever TED Talk about ME. It launched in January 2017 and has been viewed nearly 2 million times and translated into more than 25 languages.
Unrest VR is an interactive non-fiction experience inspired by Jennifer Brea’s feature documentary Unrest (Sundance 2017 Special Jury Award). An immersive journey into Jen’s experience of an invisible illness, myalgic encephalomyelitis, the project contrasts the painful solitary confinement of a bedroom world with the kinetic freedom of an inner dreamscape. When you’re too sick to leave your bed, where do you go?