May 6, 2010

Sex, Drugs & Transformation? Film and Event Review on “May I Be Frank”

I was excited to hear about a film screening in Venice, CA, on the eve of the Kindred Spirit Workshop, put on by Café Gratitude. From seeing the trailer of “May I Be Frank” (click link for trailer), I knew that the film was about a man’s journey to much improved health and well-being and that it was set in San Francisco. I’ve been thinking, lately, about returning to San Francisco to work on my own health and I was inspired by the clip and super-excited to see the film. I decided that, even though I’d been experiencing some financial challenges and money seemed “tight”, it would be worth it to make the trip up to Los Angeles earlier than I had anticipated in order to see the film.
I put my faith in the train and bus system, taking the Metrolink Train from Tustin (OC) to Los Angeles and the bus from downtown L.A. to Venice Beach. I really wanted to be there for the whole film and was stressing a bit because I knew the transit system would get me there JUST IN TIME if everything went perfectly. I had a really great conversation with someone on the Metrolink, so I’m glad that I went that route! I got to the Rose Temple a little later than I had intended, but people were still waiting to get in. Then, I heard that the event was sold out and that I needed to get in line and wait to see if I could get a seat. That was a bit stressful because I’d travelled so far. I decided to just chill and hang out and see what happened. 
Then, the guy who’d asked me to wait aside pointed to me and a lady grabbed me and said “I’m gifting you a ticket, you’re my husband tonight”. Awesome! I was able to get a great seat, I got in without needing to shell out any more dough, I was in the right place at the right time and was really inspired by the lady’s generosity!
“May I be Frank” is about Frank Ferrante, a 54-year-old man who made fast friends with Café Gratitude manager Ryland Engelhart upon entering the café. Frank was dealing with issues regarding weight, dis-ease, drug use, and fatigue and felt that he would never be loved in the shape he was in because he had trouble loving himself.
Ryland was inspired to ask Frank if he’d be up for a transformative journey based on health and a raw food diet program and life coaching by three young men, Ryland Engelhart, Cary Mosier and Conor Gaffney over the span of 42 days. Frank agreed and they decided to document the journey by filming it. The Café Gratitude community came together to support the project and, what had started as a desire to document a transformation had turned into a full-fledged film.
I found Frank’s “rawness” to be delightful and powerful and entertaining. He honestly expressed how the process felt to him and what he went through and was very transparent about the entire journey. His transformation was very inspiring and the process was done quite holistically. For example, Ryland, Cary and Conor coached Frank through things like clutter clearing and confronting difficult situations with his family. They set him up for success by cleaning out his refrigerator and giving him mantras to work with. It was a very holistic, whole-life journey.
After the showing, singer-songwriter superstar, Jason Mraz, who is part of the Café Gratitude community, performed a beautiful song called “What would love do” (click on link for video) which was part of the soundtrack to “May I Be Frank”. 

There was a question and answer session with Frank Ferrante and the makers of the film and it was amazing to see how much weight Frank had lost, how healthy he looked and the kind of energy that he radiated after having been so challenged by addictions, weight, fatigue, Hepatitis C and other types of dis-ease. He had really turned things around with the help of this beautiful community of people and through his commitment to himself in surrendering to the process.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film, it was worth the extra time, effort and money that I put into being there, and I would recommend “May I be Frank” to anyone because the message is really powerful and the transformation is so inspiring.  I think anyone could learn from it.  However, those who are really sensitive to language, nudity and raw self-expression might feel a bit uncomfortable.  If that’s you, I would encourage you to stretch your comfort zone and check it out, anyway.  In a world of “reality TV”, “May I Be Frank” is as real as it gets.

Claire Amber, a.k.a. “the feng shui fairy”, is a writer, holistic health practitioner, environmental advocate and singer. Visit her web-site at www.thefengshuifairy.com for more info.

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