Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday Wonder: Monica and David

It's all about him, and all about me. This is my day. . . .
~ Monica on Her Wedding Day

This year's Tribeca Film Festival award for Best Documentary Feature went to Alexandra Codina's Monica and Davidthe moving story of two adults with Down syndrome who marry, move to their own apartment, and begin learning how to become independent with support. Their parents, meanwhile, struggle with letting go. 

. . . as parents, we want people to look upon our children
with special needs like anyone else. . . And yet because we want
to protect them so much, we are typically the first ones who treat
them poorly by subconsciously denying them their rights
to have a normal life.
~ Maria Elena, Monica's Mother 

Life expectancy for persons born with Down syndrome was 9 years in 1910; by 1983, it had increased to 25 and today, it is 60. While medical advances undoubtedly have positively influenced those statistics, so have changes in how society regards persons with disabilities both seen and unseen. The story of Monica and David (image at left, courtesy  Getty Images © 2010) shows us especially how love and understanding and support can give anyone a chance to marry, work, and lead an independent life. The film also shows us how it is not they but us who must, as Codina says, "think differently about what other adults with any disability might need, want, and be capable of in this world."

Codina, who is Monica's cousin and grew up with her, both produced and directed the film. Currently, she is filming a documentary about a 96-year-old farmer and assisting with the foundation of the CineMia Coop in Miami. Drawing on her experience in working with adults with Down syndrome, Codina says of her film, "I have always wanted to get beyond Monica and David's seemingly happy exterior and understand what they really feel and want, and made this film to allow others to experience their intimate world." (An interview with Codina is here.)

Below is the official trailer for the film. The documentary will be broadcast in prime time this October, which has been declared Down Syndrome Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Additional videos highlighting the stories of others with disabilities are featured here.


M.L. Gallagher said...

This must be a WoW day! First Laura's poem and now your post.


And thank you for bringing Monica and Mike's story forward. It's really beautiful.

Kathleen Overby said...

Can't wait to watch it!

Billy Coffey said...

Wow, how cool. I'm gonna keep my eye out for this. Sounds very moving.

sarah said...

60 years! Wow, that is fabulous.

Laura said...

So wonderful that they have someone to tell their story. And what a heart wrenching and insightful statement from Monica's mother. I would like to watch this film.