Nothing in Frank Ferrante’s slim frame, mane of graying hair and relaxed manner, allude to his former colossal dimensions. Instead, he looks like any other health conscious diner as he sits down at the vegan restaurant Cafe Gratitude on Harrison street.
But four years ago, the 54-year-old carpenter from Brooklyn, was an unlikely candidate to stumble into Cafe Gratitude. ”I was 300 pounds, addicted to drugs, I had hepatitis C, I was depressed, I was dying really,” Ferrante recalls.
He stuck around for a meal after that first visit, a decision which catapulted him to an unusual ride back to health. When he confessed to Ryland Engelhart, one of the managers at Gratitude that he wanted to be loved before he died, Engelhart, together with his friends and colleagues Cary Mosier and Conor Gaffney, decided to put him on a regime of raw food and spiritual coaching and take a camera along for the ride. The result is “May I be Frank,” one of the local documentaries screening at the ninth SF DocFest, a two-week-long documentary film festival that plays at the Roxie Theater.