Ken Vrana, owner of Type-A Productions and Caitlin Productions (a nonprofit organization), has spent the better part of the past few years traveling the globe in pursuit of serious stories to show to the world through film.Vrana
, who along with his wife Lisa and daughter Caitlin
, moved to Cary from Los Angeles six years ago, has been working feverishly on documentary films ranging in topics from the plight of residents living among the religious violence in Northern Ireland to the suffering of local women battling breast cancer.
"One in eight women has suffered, or knows someone who suffered, from breast cancer", Vrana
said of his
soon-to-be completed documentary "Snow Angels"."It just seemed like the time to focus on it."Vrana
traveled to the heart of the battles in Northern Ireland to work on a "war" story from the Protestant point-of-view.The work took 15 years from idea to near completion and in the process Vrana found the process to be a struggle, to say the least.
"I met a guy named 'Mad Dog'- all tattooed and large", Vrana
said with a sheepish grin."He
kind of gave me permission to be there and talk to the people I needed to see."
While there Vrana saw, first hand, the kind of violence most only see on the evening news.Vrana's
"Snow Angels," however, seems to have touched him the most.Following the day-to-day travails of three women fighting the fight of their lives, Vrana
managed to capture, with permission, the horrors of and victories against the disease, up close.
Venturing into operating rooms and getting to know the women on a personal basis left an indelible impression on Vrana
"You can't help but become attached", Vrana
said."It's like watching people in your own family suffer."Vrana
shot all the footage himself after a videographer backed out at the last minute.He
has spent countless hours trying to edit 90 hours of footage into a 90 minute documentary.
The effect on Vrana
caused him to think of a project to help victims and families of breast cancer.He
came up with the Caitlin Foundation
(named for his daughter) and "Ribbon Of Life", a project for which he
is asking people from around the world to send him buttons or pins of any type.He
plans to erect a ten-foot tall structure, in the shape of a ribbon, which to attach the buttons to.He
then hopes to auction the piece off and donate all the money to breast cancer related charities.He
also plans to enlist the help of some former Hollywood connections to promote the cause and sale of the piece.Vrana
wrote teleplays and pitched TV movie ideas in Hollywood for nearly 15 years before moving to Cary.
does, however, take on more lighthearted projects.He
has, in the works, a film called "Fans" focusing on fanatical followers of such entities as NASCAR, The Beatles, College Basketball, Elvis and WCW Wrestling.
"I went to a Backstreet Boys show with my daughter and it was unbelievable", Vrana
said laughing, of his
original inspiration for the project.
But for now, Vrana's
determination centers on "Ribbon of Life".He
has received nearly 31,000 buttons but figures he
needs nearly 25,000 more to complete it.
Vrana plans to set up a booth at Cary's Lazy Daze festival where people can find out more information on the cause and donate buttons in a large bowl.
"I started getting one (button), then handfuls and now large groups of them", Vrana
said.Anyone and everyone is encouraged to stop by his
table to contribute or simply say "Hello".
Vrana hopes to acquire buttons from every state in the US and looks to work on the project rapidly until completion.
"Basically, I just want people to know I'm trying to help as many people as I can", Vrana
can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org by anyone interested in either the Caitlin Foundation
current film project, "Fans.
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