• Presented by heart surgeon Dr. Bud Frazier with filmmaker Richard Pearce and producer Michael Burns.
• Post-film discussion moderated by “Texas Monthly” executive editor Mimi Swartz, author of “Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart.” Scroll down for details about her book signing.
Donald Sutherland plays a celebrated heart surgeon who supports the research of an offbeat scientist (Jeff Goldblum) pioneering the invention of an artificial human heart. The surgeon disagrees with the ethics committee when the opportunity arises to perform the first artificial heart transplant.
“When Threshold went before the cameras in an Ottawa hospital, the first human heart transplant was already part of medical history. In 1967, South African surgeon Christian Barnard’s achievement made headlines around the world. In 1981, director Richard Pearce made a film that featured the replacement of an organic heart with an artificial one, a subject that was still the stuff of science fiction. Sadly, his picture would not be released until January 1983, a month after American surgeon William DeVries installed a Jarvik-7 into the chest of a Seattle dentist named Barney Clark. Despite its quality, Threshold ended up with a minor distributor who appears to have spared every expense in its promotion.” —Michael Walsh, reelingback.com
► Book Signing
Mimi Swartz signs copies of Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart in front of Brown Auditorium Theater from 4:15 p.m. to 5 p.m. Books are available for purchase during that time and also in the MFA Shop, on September 15 only.
• About the Speaker
At tonight’s screening, Dr. O. H. “Bud” Frazier shares his unique connection with the production of this film. Celebrated for his contributions to the field of mechanical circulatory support and pioneering treatments for patients suffering from heart failure, he has performed over 1,300 heart transplants and implanted more than 900 left ventricular assist devices, more than any other surgeon in the world. He serves as co-director of cardiovascular surgery research at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston.
• About the Filmmaker
A longtime member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Richard Pearce served as a cinematographer on four Oscar-winning films: Woodstock; Marjoe; Interviews with My Lai Veterans; and Hearts and Minds. His directorial debut was Heartland, which won the Golden Bear at the 1980 Berlin Film Festival. He also directed Country, which earned Jessica Lange a best actress Oscar nomination; The Long Walk Home with Whoopi Goldberg and Sissy Spacek; Leap of Faith with Steve Martin and Debra Winger; and A Family Thing with Robert Duvall and James Earl Jones.
• About the Producer
Michael Burns was born in Toronto in 1947. He graduated from Antioch College in 1971 with a BA in Philosophy. While still in college he began at BBS Productions working on The Monkees, Head, Five Easy Pieces, Days of Heaven, and Hearts and Minds where he first met Richard Pearce. In 1974 he returned to Toronto and produced Threshold (1981), Perfectly Normal (1989), and My Winnipeg (2007). From 1999 to 2010 Burns was the Director of Programming and Commissioning Editor for The Documentary Channel in Toronto.
• About the Moderator
Mimi Swartz’s writing has appeared in Esquire, the New Yorker, Slate, and Vanity Fair. Her books include Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron, and her op-ed pieces can be seen regularly in the New York Times.