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MediaLab Film Examines “Compassion Fatigue”

Posted by:
February 20, 2012

People who are repeatedly exposed to tragedy and trauma, such as health care workers, fire fighters and law enforcement officers, may be susceptible to a condition known as “compassion fatigue, “according to a new documentary produced by PLU’s MediaLab.

“Overexposed: The Cost of Compassion,” makes its South Sound premiere Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, at 7 p.m. in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center’s Lagerquist Concert Hall.

“After reading a little bit about what compassion fatigue is,” Katie Scaff, a junior and MediaLab member, says, “we realized that this was an important issue that more people need to be aware of.”

The title of the film, which came to the filmmakers during one of the more than 60 interviews they conducted across North America, is evocative of the human toll associated with repeated exposure to trauma and suffering.

The team traveled some 12,000 miles across the U.S. and Canada by car, train and plane in search of people with unique stories to tell. In New Orleans, the researchers met survivors of Hurricane Katrina, a nationally renowned expert who wrote the first book about compassion fatigue and a sexual trauma nurse at Louisiana State University Hospital. The filmmakers’ work also took them to California, Illinois, Washington D.C., New York City, and Kingston, Ontario, where they attended the first annual Compassion Fatigue conference.

“It’s been a busy year. But we’ve learned so much,” Scaff says. “Our goal now is to bring awareness to this issue so people can identify it and know how to cope.”

“Overexposed” marks the seventh film produced by MediaLab, which has received numerous national recognitions for its work, including one Emmy Award and three consecutive Emmy nominations.

The world premiere of Overexposed was held in October 2011 at Seattle Central Public Library. The film is free and panel discussion are free.