Catherine Seo, PhD
Director & Producer
Catherine Seo shares her personal story with lipedema, struggling with over fifty years of misdiagnosis and thinking it was her fault. When confronted with almost certain immobility and complications from numerous surgeries as a result of misdiagnosed lipedema, she traveled the world interviewing patients, doctors, surgeons, therapists, and other experts, developing the film out of her journey. She created The Disease They Call FAT to share all the information she wishes she’d had when she was so desperately trying to find answers. The film and Catherine both reinforce for other women, “It’s not our fault!”
Mark L. Smith, MD, FACS
New York City, USA
As Director of the Friedman Center for Lymphedema Research & Treatment, Dr. Smith is dedicated to education within the medical world, for patients, and for the general public about lipedema. He partnered with Catherine Seo to support the creation of The Disease They Call FAT as an educational vehicle for this under recognized condition. The film was produced as a result of this unique doctor-patient collaboration, which they hope will pave the way for more patients and medical professionals to work together in raising awareness about lipedema.
Lead Editor & Screenwriter
Los Angeles, USA
Larry Swerdlove served as editor and screenwriter for The Disease They Call FAT. Larry and Catherine met in 1968 while touring with the Strolling Players, a children’s theatre company operated by Emerson College. Both theater majors, they worked on many stage productions together and became close friends. After college, Larry continued a professional career in live theater as a director and in film and television as a writer/director. He has worked with Jim Henson Productions, PBS, Warner Brothers, Universal Studios, and Disney among many others. Larry won two national Emmy Awards and a Humanities Prize for his writing. Larry’s current focus is on his new business, Surprisingly Good Productions, in Ventura California specializing in personal family history video packages.
Editor & Videographer
Boston, USA & Singapore
Daniel Hui served as editor for the film. He is also a videographer and editor for the Lipedema Project extended interviews project. A graduate of the film program in California Institute of the Arts, his work has been screened at film festivals worldwide. His documentary film Snakeskin, about his home country of Singapore, won the Special Jury Award for Internazionale Documentary at the 32nd Torino Film Festival in Italy in 2015. When he is not working, Daniel loves doing karaoke.
Ian McFarland served as consulting producer for the film. He is a documentarian as well as a music video and commercial director. With a background as a musician and editor, Ian brings a particular understanding of structure and pacing to his fascination with human stories. Ian has created Emmy-nominated and award-winning documentaries that have screened in film festivals, picked up for major distribution worldwide, and aired on major networks such as ESPN, PBS, NESN, MTV, VICE, and Logo. Ian currently is a director/producer and co-owner of McFarland & Pecci. www.ianmcfarlandfilms.com
Production Manager & Lead Editor
Alisa Carbone is Production Manager and Lead Editor for the Lipedema Project, where she has organized and edited over 1,000 hours of interview footage. Alisa holds an MA from Syracuse University and a BA from Allegheny College. She loves working on projects to help the greater good, and developed the first television program produced by people with disabilities, Ablevision, in the Greater Boston area. Alisa lives with her husband Rob, and their two-year old son Leo and fur baby Penny.
Assistant Editor & Videographer
Hannah Cross works as assistant editor & videographer for the Lipedema Project. She studied anthropology and film at Brandeis University, and became very attached to calling Somerville home. Hannah works as a freelance video editor, and spends her spare time watching women’s soccer and being over invested in her Dungeon & Dragons characters.
Sound Engineer & Music Supervision
Composer/producer Scotty Vercoe was responsible for all things sound for the Lipedema Project, including audio restoration, soundtrack composition, music supervision and final mixing. Scotty studied jazz composition at Oberlin Conservatory, holds a Masters degree from the MIT Media Lab, and previously worked at Analog Devices and The Echo Nest (now Spotify). He was keyboardist and founding member of the groups Hyptonic and Zen Bastards. Scotty produced The Invisible Movie Soundtrack featuring vocalist Lydia Harrell, composed and recorded silent film scores for the National Film Preservation Foundation, and has produced soundtracks for over a dozen 48 Hour Film Project submissions.
Editor & Videographer
Siobhan Landry is a video-artist, filmmaker, and photographer. For the Lipedema Project, she worked as an assistant editor on the The Disease They Call FAT, and as an editor and videographer for the website extended interviews and DVD extras. Siobhan has a BA in Art History and American Culture from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and an MFA in photography and video from the University of Connecticut-Storrs. She resides in Cambridge, MA, and works as an educator, freelance editor, and videographer.
Digital Media Strategist
Noah is a digital maker, fascinated with the evolution of technology and the ways in which big ideas spread online. Acting as a digital consultant to the Lipedema Project, he has helped shape the film activation plan to be generous and inherently shareable. As the Lipedema Project has evolved into a digital experience, he has guided the transition into new channels, helping the project to achieve global scale. He holds a masters degree from NYU, where he studied social media under Clay Shirky, and works with global healthcare brands as a VP of digital strategy at Hill Holliday in Boston.
Social Media Content Developer
Heather Carrigan is the Lipedema Project Ambassador to New Zealand. She is a social media content writer supporting the dissemination of information about lipedema. Heather has a background in radio broadcasting as an announcer, newsreader, and creative writer. She is a song writer, singer, and performer, playing mandolin for New Zealand’s only all-female bluegrass band Hot Diggity. Heather has stage 3 lipedema.
Social Media Intern
Rachel Glum is a social media intern and production assistant. She manages outgoing messaging and monitors Twitter and Pinterest. Rachel graduated from Hamilton College in 2014, where she majored in Sociology and French. She now lives in the Boston area. When she is not working, you will find her running, practicing yoga, or cooking delicious vegan meals. She also works as a group fitness instructor and is a member of Out of Range, a post-collegiate a cappella group that performs in and around Somerville, MA. She writes a healthy living blog with vegan recipes and fitness tips, www.fitfoodiefiles.com.
Social Media Intern
Sara Bempah is a social media intern. She has organized the Lipedema Project YouTube channel and populated it with over 100 videos from lipedema ladies, doctors, surgeons, therapists, and various experts. Sara is a Canadian of Ghanaian decent and a recent graduate of Algonquin College’s Business Marketing Program. Her career includes several roles, such as media presenter, marketing coordinator, event coordinator, and production assistant. Sara currently runs her own YouTube channel, where she interviews individuals of various backgrounds, developing a platform for her guests to reach and expand their clientele. Sara also works as the Event Coordinator for the Hands of a Hero Foundation.
Social Media Community Manager
Tess Sanderson manages social media communication for the Lipedema Project, and is also the Lipedema Project Ambassador in the UK. She promotes, educates, and informs about lipedema issues using Facebook, twitter, and other social media channels. Tess has a broad background as a development and training manager, administrator, and event organizer. She is an artist, songwriter, and poet. Tess has Stage 3 lipolymphedema, and she is dedicated to helping other women avoid the difficulties she has faced. We affectionately refer to Tess as Our Social Media Goddess.
Chris Donnelly’s career has spanned over fifteen years in the areas of brand strategy, strategic design, and entrepreneurship. She is the principal designer at Pixelbrand, a boutique design and web agency, and has worked on campaigns for both top-tier household brands as well as smaller mom-and-pop shops. Chris currently holds a position on the Board of Directors for Green Connections Network, and she volunteers for the municipality mentoring student entrepreneurs. She is an adjunct faculty member of Ryerson University, and has previously taught in Toronto, Barrie, and Chile in a variety of advertising and communications programs. Chris’s passion is working on health and wellness related projects, and she is particularly excited about the integration of allopathic and naturopathic treatments in women’s health.
New York City, USA
Kathy Bayer’s career has included publishing as an editor at Doubleday & Co.; nonprofit education as publishing manager, educational center director, marketing and public relations manager, and event producer; and founding her own music management and concert production company, 4th Dimension Productions. Kathy’s passion for women’s rights led her to co-found the Evolving Women’s Alliance in 2011, devoted to education about women’s history and cultural issues relevant to women today. And she is a producing partner for a documentary on the life of pioneering feminist historian Dr. Gerda Lerner. Kathy is now Principal at KB Marketing Communications Consulting, Inc.
New York City, USA
Kristen Sweeney is a writer and content developer, having created synopses and transcripts from 70 extended interviews for The Disease They Call FAT. Kristen is also the content developer for both the DiseaseTheyCallFAT.tv and LipedemaProject.org websites. When she isn’t writing for the Lipedema Project, Kristen teaches and writes about yoga at http://edgeofthemat.com. She is proud to be doing work that helps women worldwide.
Public Relations Intern & Research Assistant
Alex Kozlowski is working on public relations and publicity for the Lipedema Project. She is also the research assistant helping establish a comprehensive online library about lipedema, lymphedema, and the lymphatic system. She is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto, Honours Bachelor of Science, with a major in psychology. She grew up in a very small town of 2,200 people called Atikokan, located in the middle of the wilderness in North-Western Ontario, Canada. She had two separate encounters with a black bear while going for her evening walks with her dog – and lived to have a great story to tell!