Directed and Produced: Jason Hanasik

Executive Producers: Charlie Phillips and Minette Nelson

Creative Advisors: Orlando Bagwell, Spencer Nakasako, and Mark Berger

Cinematography, Sound & Editing: Jason Hanasik

Audio Post Production: Berkeley Sound Artists

Re-Recording Mixer: James LeBrecht

Sound Effects Editor: Bijan Sharifi

Dialogue Editor: Erik Reimers

Assistant Sound Editor: William Sammons

Color Correction: Gary Coates and Chris O’Dea

Technical Advisors: Chris O’Dea, Mike Shen, and Jamie Lejeune

Music: “Medicine Man” by Daniel Goldstein and John Kapellas

Additional Support: The Filmmaker Fund, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, Berkeley Film Foundation, Black Magic Design

Archival Materials: John Kapellas and Teri Flynn


For 53 years, John Kapellas enjoyed the bright sky of the western US, but one day he started to burn, blister and break out in rashes whenever he was exposed to light. Now allergic to the entire spectrum of light, Kapellas has spent the last decade living in complete darkness. When one of the side effects of the drugs John was prescribed made him ‘go nuts’, he started drawing large abstract pictures on his walls and playing the piano to calm his mind and soothe the pain. How to Make a Pearl explores Kapellas’ coping mechanisms and how he is turning the ‘grit’ of past trauma into a ‘pearl’ of reflective creativity.

How to Make a Pearl was acquired by The Guardian’s Documentaries Division in 2017.

Selected Festival Screenings:

IDFA 2017

DOC NYC 2017

Camden International Film Festival 2017


2017 Student Academy Award Finalist

2017 IDA Award Nominee

2018 Vimeo Staff Pick

2018 Lovie Award Winner