MAY I BE FRANK: New Food Doc Proves the Power of Transformation

Last week, the fabulous ladies of Our Hen House came out with an article about some of the newest food documentaries out this year. 

You can read the article “Lights, Camera, Activism!” HERE.

Every film listed made me giddy with excitement about plant-based diets linked to better health, visuals of delicious vegan gourmet food, and people laughing or learning or expanding their moral values.

But one film felt so personal to me. The tears started flowing before I was two minutes into the trailer, and by the end I was full-on sobbing on the sofa, hugging my cat, wiping my tears on his soft triangle ears.

“May I Be Frank” is about one man, Frank Ferrante, and his truly unbelievable journey from having hit bottom after substance abuse, weight gain, and depression. He is no longer living with his wife and daughter. But meets some of the folks from Cafe Gratitude in CA, a (mostly) raw vegan restaurant, who offer to become Frank’s “transformational cheerleaders” who feed Frank healing goods and show him new sides of spirituality, self-acceptance and betterment.

 Frank was not the sort of person that usually comes to mind when you think of raw foods and meditation practice. Frank is who you picture when you think of a gruff Italian, Brooklyn NY man with a lot to say and no fear about saying it. He is a big personality, but as you find in the film, he’s got an even bigger heart.

When he considered Cafe Gratitude’s question of the day:

What do you want to do before you die?

He answered:

I want to fall in love one more time.

 What unfolds is a several-week journey that redefines the word “transformation”. While the film documents his journey, the film comes to an end long before Frank’s changes do. To really see the “before” and “after”, take a look at some photos of Frank present-day. He is a new person. No, rather – he brought out the person in him that was hiding behind shame, guilt, and anger.

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After viewing the trailer and collecting myself, I immediately sought the film’s Facebook Page to let them know how much it moved me.

I wrote,

“I just watched the trailer, and I can’t stop crying – happy tears! This looks like such a beautiful film. Frank, I don’t even know you, but I love you already. Hoping we can screen this in my area (Bethlehem, PA)!”

Two days later, I received a direct message to my personal account from Frank himself. 

It said,

“Dear Jaime,
Thank you so much for your heartfelt note. I hope to do something that makes a difference in people’s lives. Your response adds meaning to my life.
Be gentle with yourself,
Frank”

What a beautiful man. Now I love him even more. My reply is below.

Dear Frank,

I have been telling everyone I know about the film and to at least see the trailer since I saw it a few days ago. It was incredibly touching. What I loved most about it was your genuine spirit and personality that shine through. In the mere few minutes of the trailer, I felt such a wealth of emotions from laughing at some of the stuff you say, to truly feeling the pain of wondering where you may have gone wrong in life, and the very urgent desire to get back on the right track.
You are a living, breathing example that it is never too late to make a difference in yourself, and in the act of encouraging others.
I write a blog called Save the Kales! which has also now become my full-time job of cooking homemade, healthful vegan foods. The blog also chronicles some of my journey from a major, suicidal depression a year and a half ago to healing mentally and physically. Sometimes I look back on where I was less than two years ago, and the changes now are amazing!
Life is so full of beauty and sometimes we have to get to the lowest low before we can begin our ascent upwards to reach our potential. Thank you for being a part of a film that shows your humility and vulnerability. I so badly wish I could attend one of the talks you do at the film screenings. It would be an honor to meet you one day! Until then, I will continue to promote the film and share your wonderful spirit with all who will listen.

Anxiously awaiting to see the whole thing myself, too!

Thank you for such a lovely note. You really made my day.

My very best,
Jaime K
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“All of [this] has helped me come back to be the person that I was supposed to be in the first place.” – Frank Ferrante

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8 thoughts on “MAY I BE FRANK: New Food Doc Proves the Power of Transformation

  1. I found this post on Franks FB page. The karmic power of goodness and light. Now I “liked” you on FB and find that you are in PA. I grew up near Harrisburg/State College….now live in Detroit area. You mentioned suicidal depression. I am so grateful you are healing through your personal journey. I am too, on many emotional levels. I work in a “flexitarian” cafe that opened a couple months ago. My neighbor has suffered from manic depression all of his life and he comes in everyday for his wheatgrass shots. We are trying to help him eventually get off the meds that make him feel worse then the illness itself. We so need to be there for each other and the world is not such a small place. Love meeting Frank and now YOU! Namaste.

    • Wow, Kathleen, hello and thank you for that beautiful message. I read it three times :)

      While I’ve been candid on this blog with regard to mental health/illness, I never used the “S” word before, and was hesitant if anyone would pick up on that, but it’s simply the truth. I remember thinking “If I actually make it through this, there is going to be so much beauty on the other side”. And there is. So much! It’s fascinating to hear the stories of people, like the one you mentioned, of the way diet and lifestyle and spirituality and personal growth play into diagnosed illnesses. I look forward to a day when I can be free of medication. (For now it is something that is still essential, but I no longer feel guilt about taking my medicines, as though they are “bad” – I need them now and maybe some day I won’t!)

      I would love to know more about his journey, if you ever want to keep us updated! Thank you for pointing out one of my favorite truths: the world is indeed smaller than we think and we are so much more connected if we can put down our guards and see it. Thank you so much, all the best to you. Hope to see you around here!

  2. This looks like an interesting & inspirational film. I will be for sure checking this out. I’m so glad you brought this to my attention.

    • Im so glad you think so! I just got another message back from him and is maybe the nicest and coolest guy ever? Steelstacks is working on getting in Bethlehem and frank may POSSIBLY be there! Oh man! Thanks for writing Jill!

  3. Jaime,
    Once again you are one brave and beautiful person. I thank you for sharing inspiration and vulnerability. Both you and Frank have stories that resonate in too many of us. The healing comes when we are brave enough to let it out. We find that we are not so alone in our struggles. We need each other to heal. I don’t usually have the guts to write anything, but you leave me with no choice. Thank you for not quitting on yourself. You are an integral part of the healing. I look forward to the rest of Frank’s story!

    • Ruthie, once again your presence (online or real life) leaves a feeling of comfort and support. Keep putting out all your goodness to the world. It means more than you know :)

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