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Charles Tillman in "The Heart of the Matter"
April 18th, 2012
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Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation, prolanthropyTed Kay, a two-time Emmy Award winner, set out to make a little film to increase awareness of congenital heart disease.

The result is a full-fledged, one-hour documentary with big-name stars and rock-star physicians — including a few from Chicago. 

“The Heart of the Matter,” narrated by North Shore native Chris O'Donnell, also features Dr. Carl Backer (division chief, cardiovascular-thoracic surgery at Children's Memorial Hospital); Dr. Ziyad Hijazi (director of congenital and structural heart disease at Rush Medical Center); and Dr. Marla Mendelson (director of adult congenital heart center at Northwestern University).

Their interviews examine the causes, treatments and legislative action related to the disease. There also are interviews with celebrities like Brian Littrell of Backstreet Boys fame and Chicago Bears cornerbackCharles Tillman and other families and children affected by the disease. (Mr. Littrell was born with a congenital heart defect, and Mr. Tillman's daughter was born with heart problems.)

Mr. Kay, president of TMK Productions, won Emmy awards for "Choosing One's Way: Resistance in Auschwitz," a documentary hosted by Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn, and for "Outside In," which examines adults with attention deficit disorder.

PBS will air the film on May 6.