OxyFile #20

 OZONE FILM COMING IN OUT OF THE COLD

 BY DAMIAN INWOOD     NOVEMBER 9, 1993


 It took Vancouver film-maker Geoffrey Rogers more than seven 
 years to finish his first documentary.  In fact, you'd think 
 that a medical treatment that claims to safely suppress the 
 effects of both cancer and AIDS would start a stampede of 
 interest.  But the controversial use of ozone treatments is 
 scoffed at in North America, despite the fact that millions of 
 people have used it in Europe.

 "The general feeling is that they look at this and go, 'I've 
 never heard of this medical treatment so why would you want to 
 make a documentary about it?'" says Rogers of his efforts to 
 find backers for the film.

 But, despite being thousands of dollars in debt, the 30 year old 
 Rogers dream will be realized tonight when his film Ozone and 
 the Politics of Medicine gets its Canadian premiere at the 
 Pacific Cinematheque.

 And the subject matter has become as much of a crusade as making 
 the film itself for Rogers.  "The word's got to get out," he 
 says.  "I didn't set out to make money."  Rogers says ozone--
 oxygen with an extra molecule--has had a bad rap from people who 
 associate it with urban smog pollution.  His east side apartment 
 is strewn with documents and reports relating to the benefits of 
 ozone treatment.  Today he's excited by news that Italy has 
 agreed to conduct a human trial using ozone against AIDS.

 He says he first got interested in the subject when he was in 
 his final year of film school "and the pressure was on to get 
 something done."  Both his parents are medical doctors and his 
 father, Dr. R. H. Rogers, was the first to use the treatment 
 eight years ago.  Rogers says his father saved a Vancouver 
 developer's gangrenous leg from being amputated by using ozone.  
 Rogers says his father has stopped using ozone after receiving a 
 warning from local medical authorities.  

 "I thought, 'Why haven't I heard about this-something that 
 treats 40 different conditions?'" he says.  The treatment is 
 used in Europe, particularly in Germany, and the film quotes 
 doctors on its effectiveness in helping cancer and AIDS 
 patients.  But it's banned in North America and clinical tests 
 have yet to be done on its effects.

 Some ozone treatment methods are shown in the documentary, 
 ranging from the controlled injection of ozone directly into the 
 bloodstream to mixing ozone with a patient's blood and then re-
 infusing it into the body.  Ozone has long been used in Europe 
 for sterilizing water and can kill bacteria and germs in a short 
 time.  Rogers' film says it has the same effect in the 
 bloodstream, as well as promoting the immune system. 

 The film's budget, including deferments, is about $170,000, with 
 $60,000 still owing, says Rogers.  He keeps the wolf from the 
 door by working as a cameraman on documentaries and commercials.  
 He's also worked as a camera assistant on "mainstream" shows 
 like McGyver and Wiseguy.

 Since the world premiere in San Francisco two months ago, he 
 says, he's sold about 500 copies in New York and L.A.  "We're 
 scouting around for a famous narrator--we've sent it to Oliver 
 Stone and Mel Gibson and Dustin Hoffman will get one," says 
 Rogers, who adds that he's run up $8,000 on his VISA to pay for 
 the film.  "I think someone will sign on because the story is 
 big," he says.


 FILMMAKER'S FUNDS LOST IN OZONE

 BY CHRIS WONG          NOVEMBER 5, 1993


 What's Vancouver filmmaker Geoffrey Rogers been up to the last 
 seven and a half years?  Apart from working as a freelance 
 camera operator for productions in the Look Who's 
 Talking/Wiseguy mode, he's been piecing together a documentary 
 on a controversial medical treatment; ozone therapy.

 Rogers finally completed the 30 minutes film--Ozone and the 
 Politics of Medicine--about 24 hours before its premiere last 
 September in San Francisco.  Vancouverites will get a chance to 
 view the documentary when it is screened at the Pacific 
 Cimematheque on Tuesday November 9, at 7:30 and 9 p.m.

 Stylistically speaking, Ozone and the Politics of Medicine 
 doesn't have a special appeal; it's no This Blue Line.  In this 
 documentary, which Rogers produced and directed, it's the 
 information that counts.  The film provides evidence that 
 suggests ozone therapy--which essentially involves mixing blood 
 with ozone--is an effective treatment for people suffering from 
 a long list of conditions, including AIDS related illnesses and 
 cancer.  "The statistics are staggering," says Rogers.  "Ten 
 million people have used this in continental Europe, Millions of 
 people are getting effective results."

 Rogers traveled to locations in Europe, Mexico, the U.S. and 
 Canada to interview numerous researchers, doctors, and patients 
 who attested to ozone therapy's value in combating disease.  
 Among those captured on camera was Capt. Mike Shannon, director 
 of medical operations for the Canadian Department of National 
 Defence.  Shannon said tests have yielded a "profound 
 demonstration" of ozone's potential to act as a antiviral agent 
 against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is widely 
 believed to cause AIDS.  Specifically, the Canadian military was 
 involved in a study that showed that monkeys receiving blood 
 plasma contaminated with SIV (the simian equivalent of HIV), but 
 treated with ozone, remained healthy.

 Despite such studies, the therapy is illegal in North America; 
 its use is restricted to the alternative medicine underground.  
 David Bates, former dean of the UBC Faculty of Medicine, goes so 
 far as to say in the documentary that "this is lunatic medicine, 
 and I really won't pay any attention to it."  Regulatory 
 agencies, particularly the Food and Drug Administration in the 
 U.S., have rejected applications to legalize ozone-generating 
 equipment used in the therapy.  That's in large part because of 
 the potential risks involved is using ozone.  A major message of 
 the film, however, is that the underlying reason for opposition 
 to the therapy is the vas influence large pharmaceutical 
 companies have over the medical establishment.  Those companies 
 wouldn't stand to make much of a profit on something as 
 inexpensive to produce as ozone.

 Why was Rogers, who has no medical training, so consumed with 
 making a film about ozone therapy?  Back in 1986, when Rogers 
 was finishing his film studies at UBC, he first heard about the 
 therapy from his father. (Both his parents are doctors.)  After 
 interviewing some of the key proponents of ozone use, Rogers 
 became convinced that the therapy represents a major, but 
 neglected, medical breakthrough.

 At the same time, Rogers learned about the grim realities of 
 independent film production.  A major grant from the 1945 
 Foundation, which supports research on alternative cancer 
 treatments, and a minor one from the National Film Board of 
 Canada helped Rogers cover only part of the film's $150,000 
 budget.  The 30 year old says he has ended up $40,000 in debt.  
 "It's been a nightmare in my life trying to raise the money," he 
 says.  "I've been handling the financing through my Visa card."

 As a result, there are no funds left for promoting the film.  
 Still, Rogers is working on getting the documentary a major 
 airing; he's hoping broadcasters such as the CBC, PBS, or the 
 BBC will pick it up.


 OZONE THERAPY SHOULDN'T BE OVERLOOKED

 BY REBECCA WIGOD

 NOV. 12, 1993 - VANCOUVER SUN

 Oxygen mixed with ozone is used in Europe to treat everything 
 from acne and asthma to cancer, stroke and AIDS.

 Geoffrey Rogers, a Vancouver documentary film-maker, believes it 
 is time North American medicine took a serious look at ozone 
 therapy.

 Ten million Europeans have benefited from it, said Rogers, who 
 spent the last seven years making Ozone and the Politics of 
 Medicine.

 The 30-minute documentary had its first Canadian showing Tuesday 
 at the Pacific Cinematheque.

 Rogers, 30, traveled to Mexico and Germany while making his film 
 with co-director Reiner Derdau.  He believes ozone therapy, 
 which is illegal and dismissed as quackery in North America, is 
 a profoundly important medical breakthrough.

 "Why has the top management of scientific research on this 
 continent not taken this up?" he asked.

 Ozone is produced from medical grade oxygen using a machine 
 called an ozone generator.  Oxygen, mixed with a small amount of 
 ozone, is administered by injection or enema.

 The theory is that oxygen produces energy fro healthy cell 
 activity and acts against toxins in the body.  In Germany, where 
 the therapy is widely used, doctors say it successfully combats 
 40 disorders.

 Many cities water supplies are sterilized with ozone, and the 
 gas also has the potential to sterilize donated blood.

 But representatives of the medical establishment, including B.C. 
 Cancer Agency's Dr. Hulbert Silver, say it's a long way from 
 sterilizing water or blood to giving ozone to living cancer 
 patients.

 Silver said ozone therapy is totally unproven and is more likely 
 to cause cancer than cure it.

 Rogers acquired his passion for the subject after seeing work 
 done by his father, longtime Vancouver family practitioner Dr. 
 Roger Rogers.

 In the 1980s, the senior Rogers used ozone therapy with about a 
 dozen patients before the College of Physicians and Surgeons of  
 B.C. advised him to stop.

 The doctor, who believes in exploring promising therapies 
 outside the scope of conventional medicine, said it worked 
 remarkably well with a male patient who was about to have his 
 foot amputated.

 Describing the case, he said: "A chap was in deep trouble with a 
 large gangrenous ulcer on the bottom of his foot, and inflamed 
 heart and unstable diabetes, and was very down emotionally."

 With the agreement of the patient's vascular surgeon, Dr. Rogers 
 attempted ozone therapy.

 "His depression went.  The inflammation of his heart went within 
 a week.  His foot showed positive signs of healing within two 
 weeks."

 Ultimately, the mane's foot healed completely "and you couldn't 
 even see where he had had this dangerous wound."

 Dr. Rogers attempted to get Vancouver hospitals interested in a 
 clinical trial of ozone therapy but failed.

 Dr. Jack Harrigan, deputy registrar of the doctors' college, 
 said that before a therapy is used, it must undergo a controlled 
 study in a properly supervised setting.  The results must be 
 objectively evaluated and approval gained from research and 
 ethics committees.

 Film-maker Rogers said the main roadblock to ozone's being used 
 in North America is people's feeling that the gas treatment is 
 "too weird."

 His father said that with ozone, "everybody has this vision of 
 something sinister, something toxic."

 They don't realize "it's like a chainsaw.  You don't let just 
 anybody use it.  It takes intelligence, experience and proper 
 care."