Docs

‘Leave Them Laughing’ star dies

Carla Zilbersmith, the subject of John Zaritsky's latest documentary, Leave Them Laughing, passed away on Tuesday, May 18.
May 19, 2010

Carla Zilbersmith, the subject of John Zaritsky’s latest documentary, Leave Them Laughing, passed away on Tuesday, May 18. Zilbersmith was a California-based stand-up comedian and singer who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in 2007. The documentary, which won the Hot Docs Special Jury Award for a Canadian feature, focuses on Zilbersmith’s will to maintain her sense of humor despite her failing health.

Oscar-winning director Zaritsky paid for the film out of his own pocket, with help from Magic Flute Films producer Montana Berg, after reading a quote from Zilbersmith about how much it ‘sucks’ to have a disease named for a baseball player since she hates baseball. Throughout her career Zilbersmith wrote plays, songs, scripts and one-woman shows and the film on her life followed her over six weeks as she continued to sing and perform stand-up comedy despite her debilitating disease. For more on the project, click here.

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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