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Katrina O'Neil. Image: Robert Gow

Fredericton filmmaker premiers new documentary ‘Losing Yourself’

By Ryley Roach Jul 27, 2023 | 1:17 PM

Fredericton filmmaker Robert Gow has unveiled a new documentary he has directed and produced.

“Losing Yourself” is an inspiring and heart-warming 22-minute documentary that aims to share Katrina O’Neil’s story.

O’Neil lost 14 years of memory after a cardiac arrest at the age of 29. When she awoke from a coma, O’Neil thought she was still 15 years old, having lost all memory of her three children and adult life.

“The cardiac arrest happened while she was playing baseball and when she passed out, she hit her head on concrete and she didn’t get any oxygen to her brain for something like 10 minutes, which gave her a 0.01 per cent chance of survival,” said Gow.

Gow explains that the film is an exploration of how O’Neil has rebuilt her life and reformed connections with her children, family, and friends after having experienced this sort of tremendous memory loss.

The two first met and became friends through playing on a multi-sport team together. Gow said the team was all hanging out after a game one night and O’Neil happened to share her story with everyone.

That story stuck with Gow for months. After some time, he ended up reaching out to O’Neil to see if she would be interested in doing a documentary together.

“For somebody with such a severe brain injury, you’d never be able to tell she’d gone through that just from meeting her,” said Gow. “She’s super outgoing, super friendly, and she just has this massive chunk of memory missing.”

O’Neil also appeared on the first episode of Gow’s recent docuseries, “Real Faces”. She shared her story in a short five-minute episode of the eye-opening, jaw-dropping docuseries in May 2023. However, Gow thought that was not enough time to share the true, full story of O’Neil.

“Losing Yourself” is currently on rotation on the cable television channel AMI (Accessibility Media Inc.). For those who are looking for an online version, it can also be watched here.

Gow plans to continue creating documentaries and docuseries, with multiple currently in the works as potential pitches.

With filmmaking being something that he loves to do, he says that he wants to continue doing this for as long as possible, if not for the rest of his life.


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