Distributed by New Day Films, 190 Route 17M, P.O. Box 1084, Harriman, NY 10926; 888-367-9154 or 845-774-7051
Produced by Robert Arnold, Lindsay Sablosky, Vivian Kleiman, Malcolm Pullinger
DVD, color, main feature 59 min., classroom version 29 min.
Sr. High - Adult
Disability Studies, Health Sciences, Learning Disabilities, Social Work
Reviewed by Debra Ennen, Maple River Schools, Mapleton, MN
Date Entered: 4/25/2008
This film, relevant to so many subject areas, depicts life for 22-year-old Gannet who faces the world with Mowat-Wilson syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that makes it difficult for both sides of the brain to communicate with each other.
We first meet Gannet at home with his mother who supplies the background information about Mowat-Wilson syndrome and its specific difficulties. To communicate with others, Gannet must point at pictures of what he wants and how he is feeling. He enjoys music and it is often used to calm him as he is frequently agitated and hits himself about the head. He enjoys playing sounds on the piano and looking at cars, and it is easy to see that Gannet enjoys life even though it is hard. Gannet is moving from his family home to an apartment with four caregivers. Following the move, the footage is largely of Gannet in his new surroundings through the eyes of the caregivers; one in particular, Donal, provides thoughtful narration and medical information. Gannet needs surgery for the removal of cataracts which are severely limiting what is left of his vision. Vision is one area that Mowat-Wilson syndrome compromises. This surgery and his recovery are featured at the end of the film.
Donal shares his own poignant feelings for Gannet , and what he personally gains from experiencing life with Gannet, but also how he cannot see himself still providing that care years down the road.
The film version is 30 minutes longer than the education version which is the same footage cut down to fit the 29 minute time frame. The film is well-edited and while some scenes may make the viewer uncomfortable, they are necessary for understanding. The background music is very thoughtful and fits the movie well. Closed-captioning is available. Its scope makes it useful for adults learning about the syndrome and also for high school students, but primarily only of interest to teenagers if they know someone with Mowat-Wilson syndrome.
- Golden Gate Award, Best Bay Area Documentary, San Francisco International Film Festival 2007