GIFTS OF LIFE: PROFILES IN COURAGE FROM THE TRANSPLANT COMMUNITY
Cast: Shelby Caban, Jack Cloonan, Jennifer Lentini
Crew: Producers: Michael D. Drucker, Doug Housman, John Redican, Joy Oppedisano – Screenwriters: Michael D. Drucker
Meet Shelby, Jack and Jennifer… three young organ transplant recipients who each received the gift of life. Learn about their courageous struggles and the incredible gratitude they have for their donors. The story culminates at the Eisenhower Park Donor Rose Garden in East Meadow, NY, where guests such as Mets great Ed Kranepool and many others gather to share their riveting stories of hope and survival. People die every day waiting for an organ transplant. Please help us spread the word and dispel the myths. Organ donation is desperately needed to save lives right now! This short film had two generous sponsors: Long Island Transplant Recipients International Organization (LI TRIO) is a non-profit all volunteer organization committed to improving the quality of lives touched by the miracle of transplantation through education, support, advocacy, and organ donation & transplantation awareness. (https://www.litrio.org) Hearts for Russ raises funds to benefit transplant and heart related causes. (http://heartsforruss.org)
Michael David Drucker is an award-winning writer, producer, director and editor who began his professional career as an intern at NBC-TV New York in 1984. Hired by their Specials Division upon graduating the Newhouse School at Syracuse University in 1985, Drucker spent seven years at NBC producing news features, documentaries, short films and children’s programs. In 1988, Drucker was tapped to host a program for teenagers on WNBC-TV called “Fast Forward.” He wrote and produced field segments for the show and hosted alongside two teenage actresses. “Fast Forward” went on to win an Emmy® for “Outstanding Programming for Young People” in 1989. Later that year, Drucker fulfilled a boyhood dream when he was hired to work on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, creating short films with acclaimed writer-director Tom Schiller. While at SNL, Drucker was inspired to form his own production company. Delusions International, Inc. was incorporated in 1991. Drucker’s very first client with his own company was Planet Hollywood when it first opened on West 57th Street in Manhattan. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and the other owners of the restaurant chain staged an informal film festival on their giant screens before their grand opening, and selected Drucker’s work out of a field of talented filmmakers. Drucker was contracted to build a massive digital library of film clips categorized by themes and set to music. This popular collection of Planet Hollywood Film Montages played in all of the chain’s locations around the world. In 1992, Drucker gained PepsiCo as a corporate client and they have remained his number one client for over 27 years. PepsiCo has sent Drucker across the country and around the world shooting behind-the-scenes of their commercials, creating short films, mini-documentaries, sales initiatives, executive messages, satellite media packages and video profiles for social media. Drucker also produces several large-scale yearly events that require multiple crews and quick turn-around editing. These events have become institutions at the snack & beverage giant. Drucker is also Co- Creator and Executive Producer of the prestigious PepsiCo internal series: “PEP Talks” – a multi- camera shoot in front of a live audience. Modeled after TED Talks, the series spotlights top PepsiCo executives discussing critical company matters. This summer, Drucker directed four short profile films on the road for Pepsi in Key West, FL; Corpus Christie, TX; Safford, AZ; Philadelphia, PA and Pensauken, NJ that played at the NY Public Library in October 2019. Drucker’s other corporate and agency clients and brands include: Sony BMG, BBDO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, MetLife, Museum of the Moving Image, House of Seagram, WME/IMG, American Barrick, Brut, Dodge, eTrade, Intel, Harman International, Physician’s Choice, Lexus, Maxwell House, Pizza Hut, Shady Brook Farms, Simon & Shuster, Taco Bell, Great American Products, California Pizza Kitchen, Hilton Hotels, and Team Penske Indy Car among others. In 1999, Drucker was contracted by the Ampex Corporation (inventors of video tape) to help build a digital video network online. Years before YouTube, iNEXTV led the charge of streaming video on the web, pioneering video compression and digital asset management techniques. Drucker was placed in charge of Special Projects, running the cutting edge travel site, directing all company promos and producing what was touted as the world’s first daily internet soap opera, “Couch Confessions” starring actress Tovah Feldshuh. In 2003, Drucker was hired by SpikeTV to write and produce a documentary on the radical sport of Slamball, a four-on-four full-contact basketball game… played on trampolines. Drucker followed the tryouts around the country in Orlando, Atlanta, Philadephia, Chicago and Los Angeles. He personally filmed a large part of the documentary along with pro crews in each city, and edited the feature-length documentary as well. While maintaining a busy schedule of corporate productions, Drucker also sets time aside for charitable causes and non-profits. Recently, he’s created: a video profile on teenage heart-transplant-recipient Lauren Shields for the organization Hearts for Russ; a theater performance and mini-doc on autistic entertainer Dane Brandt-Lubart entitled “My Life on the Spectrum”; and an inspiring in-depth profile on Viet Nam vet and amputee John J. Devine — a DAV Veteran of the Year. Aside from writing for television & film, Drucker is also a recently self-published author of a children’s book series. “Empire the Skyscraper in the Land of Man-Made Wonders®” imagines a peaceful world where mankind’s inventions live. A 3-D animated version of the book is currently in production.
There’s an uncommon level of gratitude among organ recipients. They have the utmost appreciation for their donors and for every moment of their extended life. It’s an inspiration to hear their stories of struggle and resilience.