Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health
Place of work / study:
Global Brain Health Institute, Trinity College Dublin
Area of Research:
Film director and screenwriter, focused on creating informed and empathetic narratives about dementia and brain injury in cinema.
How is your work funded?
Tell us a little about yourself:
Zach is a director and screenwriter whose films have played festivals and won awards across the globe. His piece “The Lightkeeper” (2018) was named final recipient of the CINE Golden Eagle Award for Narrative Short Film, an award recognizing rising filmmakers since 1957 which has honored the early careers of Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Spike Lee, Taylor Hackford and others. His screenplays and teleplays have placed in a number of international screenwriting competitions and he continues to work as a music video director in parallel to narrative cinema. Prior to transitioning behind the camera, Zach spent the first half of his career as an actor. He has appeared in a number of American television shows, as well as acting Off-Broadway, with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at Lincoln Center, and regionally around the United States in live theatrical productions. He is a graduate from the School of Theatre at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself:
I’m an amateur fencer (foil), currently fencing for Trinity College Dublin while a GBHI fellow.
Why did you choose to work in dementia?
I believe that Hollywood focuses too much on tragedy narratives when it comes to dementia. I would like to see more hopeful and humane portrayals onscreen.
What single piece of advice would you give to an early career researcher?
Don’t be afraid to rock the boat. Those who disrupt the system are always the ones who change it for the better.
What book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?
The Essential Poems of Jim Harrison. A visceral, earthy collection of poetry by the writer of The Legends of the Fall. Highly recommended for anyone who loves to get down in the dirt and undergrowth with the written word.