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  • Writer's pictureJules Zucker



While many of our projects revolve around branded content and advertising, we’re storytellers to our core. So when Rhisa Parera contacted us about directing and producing an autobiographical short film based on her battle with chronic Lyme Disease, we were immediately on board.

Millions of people around the world suffer from debilitating symptoms of chronic Lyme, and most of them go undiagnosed. Rhisa herself spent decades plagued by aches, pains, dizziness and fatigue — all the while, puzzled doctors told her that because her lab tests were coming up normal, there wasn’t much they could do.

Your Labs Are Normal follows Rhisa’s tumultuous and remarkable journey to diagnosis, highlighting the frustrating red tape and gaslighting that have become unfortunately characteristic of the American healthcare system.

As our writer and executive producer, Rhisa was there every step of the way to make sure the film rang true — the faces may have changed (the exceptional cast is spearheaded by Sonja Cirilo, who plays Rhisa, and Dandry Anteuris as her boyfriend Felix), but the story is 100% autobiographical.

Bringing this story to life was unlike any other job we’d taken on before. Rhisa approached us with a finished script, we developed a preproduction budget and storyboard, and everything flowed naturally from there — thanks to a killer cast, a devoted crew, and a generous group of friends who let us film in their homes, workplaces and offices, we were able to shoot the entire film over three weekends in February. Considering the fact that COVID restrictions still made filming pretty challenging, this felt like a small miracle!

Then came post-production, which was a beast of its own. Over the span of a few months, our mastermind editor Riccardo pulled together a final cut that did justice to Rhisa’s story, from her lowest lows to the triumph of her eventual diagnosis. We filled in the film’s soundtrack with a mix of Artlist tracks and contributions from talented friends of Rhisa’s — we found that score and source music played pivotal roles in setting the scene and mirroring the peaks and valleys of Rhisa’s emotions.

Overall, it was a powerful project to take part in, and we’re excited to submit Your Labs Are Normal to short film festivals around the world. In Rhisa’s own words:

“I hope Your Labs Are Normal can reach an audience of people who have Lyme or any other illness, as well as those in the medical community — I pray that they will take my experience with them. Half of the United States is diagnosed with a chronic illness, but this story is bigger than just chronic illness. It's about our medical system and how it fails so many on a daily basis. Many others are fighting as we speak, trying to figure out what is wrong with them while working, going to school, or raising a family. Some do not even get to the point of diagnosis due to constant misdiagnosis or gaslighting, and others do not seek medical care due to mistrust, racism, prejudice, xenophobia, & classism.”

Check out the film’s website at — you’ll find film stills, behind-the-scenes photos, the official trailer, and more.

- pictures by Rounak Modha & Juliette LeHenaff



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