Perfect Strangers raises questions about what motivates an individual towards an extreme act of compassion. The documentary tells the story of two unique and engaging characters. One is Ellie, who embarks on an unpredictable journey of twists and turns, determined to give away one of her kidneys. Five hundred miles away, Kathy endures nightly dialysis and loses hope of receiving a transplant until Ellie reads her profile on an online website. Both women face unexpected challenges as their parallel stories unfold over the course of four years. Why are we unnerved by the idea of such an extreme gift?
Jan Krawitz has been independently producing documentary films for 40 years. Her work has been exhibited at film festivals in the United States and abroad, including Sundance, the New York Film Festival, Visions du Réel, Edinburgh, SilverDocs, London, Sydney, Full Frame, South by Southwest and the Flaherty Film Seminar. Her most recent film, Perfect Strangers,” received the Audience Award at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival and was broadcast on the PBS series “American Reframed.” Her previous film, Big Enough, was broadcast on the national PBS series P.O.V. and internationally in eighteen countries. Mirror Mirror, In Harm’s Way, Little People, and Drive-in Blues received wide exposure through festivals and television. Krawitz’s short film Styx is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Little People was nominated for a national Emmy Award and was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. Krawitz has had one-woman retrospectives of her films at venues including the Portland Art Museum, Hood Museum of Art, Rice Media Center, the Austin Film Society, and the Ann Arbor Film Festival and was awarded an artist’s residency at Yaddo. Krawitz is a Professor at Stanford University where she teaches in the M.F.A. Program in Documentary Film and Video.