It Isn’t Permanent


PHOTOGRAPHY: Cassandra Storm

Corinne Sharnetzka never imagined that a casual conversation that she had with her mother would lead to the creation of a short film. “I never thought I would inspire a film and I definitely never thought I would act in one. I am a terrible actor.” Corinne laughs. It’s Not Permanent is a dramatic short film about one teen’s positive approach to living with Type 1 diabetes (T1D). The short film was written and directed by Rick Hansberry and produced by Be A Giver, a Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation, to share Corinne’s vision of hope to those living with T1D.

The inspiration for the film came from a story that Corinne’s mother, Rachel Sharnetzka told at a fundraising event describing a conversation with her daughter about replacing her daughter’s medical alert bracelet with a tattoo. “Corinne has always had a fascination with tattoos but has never been a big fan of wearing her medical alert bracelet.” Her mother suggested that one day Corinne may want to consider getting a tattoo in lieu of wearing a medical alert bracelet. Corinne responded that she was afraid it would hurt and before her mother could reassure her that the pain would be temporary Corinne said, “Won’t it hurt to have the tattoo removed, when there is a cure?”

Corinne’s confidence that her Type 1 diabetes would be cured inspired her mother to share the story at a fundraising event for Be A Giver. Corinne’s mother said, “If Corinne believes so strongly that one day a cure will be available, we have to do everything possible to raise money and awareness until that day comes.” Rick Hansberry was at that fundraising event and heard her story and it struck a chord with him.

As an award-winning filmmaker with two produced feature films and eight short films to his credit, Rick Hansberry knew there was a movie that could be built around that story. “My films usually center on an underdog and end with an inspiring message.”

“Short films, if done well, play out like a good joke. Establish the set up and deliver a powerful punchline” Rick Hansberry explained. “When I heard Corinne’s story, her question about the tattoo gave me that visual metaphor that an audience could relate to.” Rick now had the foundation for the film — an idea for the script but he then needed to turn that script into a movie. He secured a filming crew from York College of Pennsylvania by simply sharing Corinne’s story with Bob Mott, the Director of their Media Arts program. Deciding to shoot the film locally, with no budget, Rick’s first choice to play the lead was Rory Noble, a model, singer and actress and the daughter of one of Rick’s co-workers, Meg Noble. “She just had the right look I envisioned for the character. Now, months after we’ve wrapped production, Rory’s performance has been praised by audiences and industry professionals alike. I’m still so proud and impressed with her performance. She was a joy to direct.”

Rick decided to cast Corinne as the popular character, ‘Brittany’ because he felt it offered her the chance to step outside of herself and “be the person who asks all of the typical questions” teens may be asked about the disease. “Corinne was fantastic. Having Rachel as an extra, as well as her father, Craig Sharnetzka on set every day, we had continuous insights as to how kids and parents deal with Type 1 issues throughout the shoot. When I first heard Corinne’s story, I looked for other narrative films with a character with Type 1 and found nothing. There were lots of documentaries and informational films but there wasn’t a character that a young audience could identify with and I wanted to create that for teens and parents,” Rick Hansberry explained. “I’m hopeful that Corinne’s positive attitude can inspire others and hopefully create awareness about Type 1 for parents that encounter a sleepover situation like the one in the film.”

Corinne, now 14, was 8 years old when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Six years after her diagnosis, Corinne is a busy teen playing field hockey, basketball and lacrosse. She indicates that the hardest part of living with Type 1 is the constant balancing act: “It is hard to get good grades and play sports all while managing your blood sugar.”

“Corinne works hard to do it all,” says her mother, “and she amazes us every day with her ability to cope with the physical and emotional highs and lows of living life with diabetes.” Corinne hopes that the film brings awareness to others about what it is like to live with a chronic medical condition. She says she enjoyed playing a small role in the film and is excited that others may be inspired by her hope for a cure.

Asked today if she is still considering getting a tattoo that could serve as a medical alert, Corinne says, “Absolutely!” After consideration though, she adds that she has decided that she would never get the tattoo removed even if a cure is found because T1D has become a part of her. She thinks she might just add to her tattoo “Retired.”

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