What would you do if you knew you were living the last year of your life? Until 20 is an inspiring documentary about James Ragan and his courageous quest to live a full and meaningful life. It's about feeling lucky about knowing that your life is almost over and making this your time to do something good, right now. This is a story about living.
About The Film
When James Ragan was 13, he received the most devastating news: he had a rare childhood cancer. What he did after he heard that news is the basis for the film Until 20, a moving account of James' life after his diagnosis that asks the question "how would you live if you knew your life would end at 20?"
This inspiring feature-length documentary chronicles James as he grows from a promising young athlete blindsided by disease to a passionate advocate for childhood cancer research and a charismatic speaker, all while remaining an ambitious student and cheerleader for other youngsters fighting for their own lives.
It is the story of James' choices in life and his tireless quest to live and make a real difference in the battle against rare childhood cancers before his own time runs out.
Support The Film
Our film production company, Paksima Productions, is all about making films that are authentic, inspiring and capture life. Capturing the real James Ragan was an extraordinary privilege and unforgettable experience for each of us who have worked on this film. The exciting part of this project was that James wanted to have this film made as much as us.
He gave us his precious time and he gave us intimate access and permission to ask him anything. We believe this film is an extension of his voice and his passion to make a real difference. We believe we can each learn a lot about life from James Ragan because he helps us understand how he faced the hard choices which osteosarcoma forced him to face. It is our goal to have a window into this wisdom.
We are especially grateful for James' humor, openness, and honesty. This film also couldn't have happened without the gracious Ragan Family - Gloria, Jim and Mecklin. Thank you for allowing our production crew inside the most intimate and emotionally difficult times of your family's life. What you have done took tremendous trust and courage. Participating in this film is a selfless gift you have given all of us so we can understand and we can feel.
Geraldine Moriba Meadows - Co-Director/Producer
Five-time Emmy award-winning producer Geraldine Moriba Meadows is an original program development executive producer with CNN and the vice president of diversity and inclusion for CNN Worldwide. Prior to that, she served as the executive producer of CNN's America documentary series. She also worked at NBC News and MSNBC. In addition to her Emmy Awards, she's won an Alfred I. DuPont Award, two Peabody Awards, two RTNDA-Unity Awards, two National Association of Black Journalists First Place Documentary Awards and more. As a rare cancer survivor herself, she is in a unique position to tell James Ragan's story from both personal and professional perspectives.
Jamila Paksima Rowell - Co-Director/Producer
Jamila is a two-time Emmy Award nominee and an independent documentary filmmaker, video director, and journalist. Some of her most prestigious awards are three Webby Awards, RFK Journalism 1st Prize in Domestic Television Broadcast, CINE Golden Eagle, and the OMMA Awards for Best Medical Animation Series. For 14 years, Jamila has been the Executive Producer and Creative Director at Paksima Productions. She directed videos for a $1 million advertising campaign for IMS Health's successful IPO offering in March 2014. She produced a series of short documentary films in China, South Africa, Columbia, Argentina and the United States for Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson. Jamila's expertise in healthcare video and documentary film production is crucial in making Until 20 a relevant and thought-provoking human tale.
Christopher Beauchamp - Director of Photography
Christopher Beauchamp is a Connecticut-based location photographer specializing in dramatic environmental portraits and dynamic adventure sports imagery for advertising, editorial and corporate clients. Growing up on the tail end of Cold War, his childhood was spent digging underground fallout shelters. This later developed into a passion for cave exploration, both domestically and internationally, and for investigating the often overlooked subterranean environments beneath cities. It was his efforts to document these spaces that ignited his drive to create unique imagery and led him to a career in photography. Whether a personal or a client project, his years of experience creating compelling images in adverse conditions allow him to maximize the potential of a shoot regardless of circumstances.
Steve Buckwalter — Second Director of Photography and Senior Editor
Steve Buckwalter is an experienced filmmaker, videographer and editor. Working in movies, commercials, documentaries and corporate video production, some of his clients include The Walt Disney Company, Showtime, the US Army, Glaxo, and the AARP. Steve and Jamila Have worked a creative team for seven years. Steve has helped create and complete campaigns for Janssen, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi Pasteur, BabyCenter.com and other healthcare clients. Steve has a truly unique combination of deep technical expertise and the eye of a gifted visual artist who captures exquisite images while crafting compelling visual stories.
Dita Gruze - Editor
Dita has over 14 years of international media experience, writing for newspapers, magazines, and publications in her native Latvia, Spain, and the U.S., as well as working as a producer, assistant director, script supervisor, and editor on more than 50 documentary and narrative films and commercials. Some of the films that Dita has worked on have won the Best Short Film at Slamdance, nominated for the Short Film Grand Jury award at Sundance, included in the Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab, and featured on PBS FutureStates series. Her fluent knowledge of Latvian, Russian, Spanish and English and extensive leisure and professional travel experiences open up many doors to personal stories and unique insights into local cultures.
Haimy Assefa - Production Associate
Haimy Assefa is a multimedia storyteller who uses film, photography and journalism to tell compelling and character driven stories. With a BA in Sociology and an MA in International Affairs, Haimy's digital works aim to explore broad and nuanced social issues on both local and international scales. Originally from East Africa, Haimy has traveled to and participated in projects in Brazil, Ethiopia, Haiti and domestically in the U.S.
If you have questions, comments or you'd like to have a conversation about how you can help us get the word out about James and this film please submit the contact form below. If you'd like us to follow up with you please indicate that and we'll be in touch soon. Thank you for taking the time to care about this important film.