Mattocks’ Trial by Fire

Mattocks’ Trial by Fire

BY SIMONE MORGAN Observer reporter

Saturday, March 19, 2016

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CELEBRITY chef and Emmy-nominated actor Charles Mattocks covered a subject close to his heart when he served as producer/director for the award-winning documentary, Trial By Fire.

The 54-minute film is inspired by Mattocks’s efforts to help his mother Constance Marley, half-sister of reggae legend Bob Marley, as she battles Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

The flick also highlights the plight of other CRPS victims. CRPS, previously known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy, causes excruciating pain, skin problems, swelling, and in some cases death.

CRPS is known in some quarters as the suicide disease due to the high number of patients who have taken their lives.

"Before my mother was diagnosed eight years ago, I had never heard about the disease. We are talking about a level of pain that is higher than amputation. There are persons who live with the symptoms for a while without knowing what it was. There are some doctors here in the US who are not fully aware of what it is," the Florida-based Mattocks told the Jamaica Observer.

He said the documentary’s aim is to expose the suffering of millions and the need for further education, research, and treatment for those living with CRPS.

An estimated 200,000 people in the United States have CRPS. It is not known how many Jamaicans suffer from it.

In Kevin MacDonald’s documentary, Marley, Constance is introduced as the daughter of Norval Marley, Bob Marley’s father.

She is the centre of her son’s film, including scenes in which she makes it clear she’s losing the will to live.

"She is not doing well. Unfortunately, the treatment ketamine, or other forms of treatment, doesn’t work for her. I just pray that something happens that will make the situation better, but she is a fighter so, for now, we have come to accept that this is a condition that she will have to live with for a while," said Mattocks.

At the Hollywood Film Festival last month, Trial by Fire was awarded Best Director and Most Impactful Topic In a Documentary.

Trial by Fire was completed in eight months. Production ended during the last quarter of 2015.

"We are now doing a lot of television shows and interviews and so on as we are creating a social movement. Also, we are hoping to do as much festivals as possible and win a few more awards," said Mattocks.

Although he has no formal training in film-making, the 41-year-old Mattocks has made a name in television and movies. His best known role is that of Ben Tyler alongside actor James Woods in the 1996 film The Summer of Ben Tyler.

It is about a black man with Down’s Syndrome taken in by an affluent white couple living in the racist US South during the 1940s. Mattocks was nominated for an Emmy Award.

Before acting, he dreamed of following in his uncle Bob Marley’s footsteps. At age 20, Brooklyn-born Mattocks released a rap album called Eddie Bone for Tommy Boy Entertainment. However, his music days are long over.

"It was a time that I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew that I had my uncle’s gene in me so I had to make an impact. His impact was through music and mine is through health," he said.

The author of several cook books, Mattocks — who is diabetic — is producing a new Caribbean-based television series called
Conversations In The Kitchen.

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