Community Search
Performance & Film Room
Share |

Performance & Film Room
A place for theatrical performance & documentary film
Room 710B

The WPC is pleased to present, for the first time, a space for theater and film at the WPC. This theatrical performance and series of specially selected films from the Parkinson’s community are meant to inspire, educate, encourage discussion and motivate. We encourage you to visit the Performance and Film Room during the WPC to experience for yourself how these stories can move viewers.

[Support for this room comes from AbbVie Pharmaceuticals.]

Theatrical Performance

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday from 11:45AM - 12:45PM. Followed by a Q&A with the performers.

The Alan Parkinson's Project is an award winning Canadian musical based on the life of celebrated Canadian playwright, Doug Curtis, who was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson's in 2003. The musical focuses on an award winning filmmaker's journey into PD with support by his devoted dog Target, his guardian angel Grace, his production assistant Kate and his medicinal hero El Dopa. 

The Alan Parkinson's Project will be performed THREE times on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday over the lunch hour.

Documentary Films

These films had incredible input by people living with Parkinson’s as they were either directed by people living with Parkinson’s or they highlighted the lives and stories of people living with Parkinson’s. In some cases, the person behind the camera and those in front of the lens were both living with PD.

Stories about living with Parkinson’s, real stories, are very powerful messages for the global community. They not only educate others about this disease, but can inspire people to keep striving for ways to live positively or, in the case of neuroscientists or clinicians, to keep striving to find a cure or better options for living with PD.

Each film will be shown twice during the WPC. Showings with asterisks (*) indicate they will be followed by a Q&A period with the director &/or actor. Films with [Test Screening] indicate they are private pre-screenings for the WPC community before these films are launched into the Film Festival circuit later this year or next year.

Capturing Grace by David Iverson  [TEST Screening]
Time: 70 minutes
Hosted by David Iverson & Dave Leventhal

The Healthiest Man On Earth
Time: 26 minutes
Hosted by Gary Turchin

Undefeated: An Intimate Portrait of Parkinson’s
Time: 60 minutes
Hosted by Diane Robinson & Bob Kuhn

I'm Here It's Me Can You See
Time: 26 minutes
Hosted by Ruth Peyser & Pam Quinn

The Astronaut’s Secret by Zach Jankovic  [TEST Screening]
Time: 60 minutes
Hosted by Zach Jankovic & Rich Clifford


* denotes Q&A after the film

Wednesday, October 2

1.30PM – 2:45PM – Undefeated: An Intimate Portrait of Parkinson’s*

  • Hosted by Diane Robinson & Bob Kuhn

3:00PM – 4:30PM - Capturing Grace* [Test Screening]

  • Hosted by David Iverson & David Levanthal

4:45PM – 5:45PM – I'm Here It's Me Can You See*

  • Hosted by Ruth Peyser & Pam Quinn


Thursday, October 3

1:45PM – 2:45PM – The Healthiest Man on Earth*

  • Hosted by Gary Turchin

3:30PM – 4:30PM – I'm Here It's Me Can You See*

  • Hosted by Ruth Peyser & Pam Quinn

6:00PM – 7:30PM –The Astronaut’s Secret* [Test Screening]

  • Hosted by Zach Jankovic and Rich Clifford

<Popcorn to be served at 6PM showing>

Friday, October 4No Q&A afterward

1:00PM – 1:30PM – The Healthiest Man on Earth

1:30PM – 2:30PM - The Astronaut’s Secret [Test Screening]

2:30PM – 3:30PM - Undefeated: An Intimate Portrait of Parkinson’s

3:30PM – 4:40PM - Capturing Grace [Test Screening]



About the Films

The Astronaut’s Secret

By Zach Jankovic
Houston, TX, USA
Time: Approx. 1 hour

Over 1 million people in America live with Parkinson's disease (PD), a degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system and for which there is no known cure. When Rich Clifford was diagnosed with PD he had already completed two successful missions for NASA as a mission specialist, STS-53 and STS-59, and was at the peak of his career.

After his diagnosis, Rich persisted and with the help of his family and the doctors at NASA he was able to keep his diagnosis a secret. He was subsequently assigned to STS-76, where he performed a flawless 6-hour spacewalk. His spacewalk was the first American spacewalk on the Russian-MIR Space Station.

For 18 years after his final mission Rich continued to keep his Parkinson's a secret until his tremors worsened and became visible.Finally in 2011, Rich decided to go public about his disease and reveal to the world that he flew in space with Parkinson's. Now that the Parkinson's community has caught wind of his story Rich has become a source of inspiration to many.



Capturing Grace

By David Iverson
Menlo Park, CA, USA
Time: 70 minutes

It seems like two disparate realms. One is occupied by some of the most acclaimed dancers in the world, people who move for a living. The other is occupied by people who often struggle to move, people who have Parkinson’s disease. This is the story of what happens when those different worlds intersect. For a year, we followed a group of individuals with Parkinson’s as they prepared to stage a first ever dance performance under the tutelage of two long time principal dancers at the renowned Mark Morris Dance Group. It’s a story about what each group learns from the other, a story of determination, adversity, the transformative power of art and the shared strength of the human spirit. As Parkinson’s dance participant Reggie Butts puts it, "When the music starts,” he says, "there are no patients. There are only dancers.” This is the story of a remarkable community of dancers, some professional and some not, who have come together to rediscover the meaning of grace.


The Healthiest Man on Earth

by Gary Turchin
Berkeley CA, USA
Time: 26 minutes

"I’m not going to tell you everything is alright” are the opening words of The Healthiest Man On Earth, (26 minutes) a documentary film featuring the life and poetry of Gary Turchin. Turchin, a Berkeley, CA-based poet, performer and visual artist, writes and speaks in an accessible and entertaining style that belies the depth of his craft. But things aren’t "going to be alright” because we soon learn that Turchin is living with Parkinson’s disease, a disabling neurodegenerative disorder.

Rather than surrender or lose faith, Turchin is spurred on by his illness, determined to carry on his work. He tells us that as long as he’s creative, and his work continues to move people, then he still feels like "the healthiest man on Earth.”

We meet Turchin as much through his poetry, performance, and art, as we do through interviews; learn how he lost and found himself in life, and watch him reenact his diagnosis scenes on stage with spot-on humor. When Turchin loses his day job as a writer, which might have sent some reeling into despair—being ill and unemployed— he instead resolved he was going to illustrate and publish an inspirational book he’d written, called "If I Were You.”

He does illustrate and publish the book—his way of turning the straw of his illness into the gold of his art—and we see him going out into the world reading and promoting it. His reading of pages of If I Were You, along with other poems he shares in the film, are worth any price of admission. Turchin is the consummate poet/entertainer.

This is film for anyone who has ever been challenged by anything…

Awards, Notes:

The Healthiest Man On Earth won the Audience Favorite Award at the 2013 Albany (CA) Film Fest, as well as honorable mention in the Documentary category. It was also showcased at the 2013 Davis Film Festival, Davis, CA; and the 2013 Rob Knox Film Festival, in London England.



Undefeated: An Intimate Portrait of Parkinson's

Contact: Parkinson Society British Columbia (Diane Robinson)
Producer: Geri Young
Director: Kim Knechtel
Vancouver, Canada
Time: 60 minutes

Defeat can often appear to be the inevitable destiny of those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD). But that need not be the case. This one-hour documentary speaks of hope; six people fighting a battle against a disease that daily seeks to erode their quality of life. They each have their own unique perspective on the disease and its consequences. But they share a will to fight an unrelenting enemy; to remain undefeated.

These are the people who know the petty aggravations, the deep-seated fear of the future, the anger and tears and frustrations and impossibilities of everyday tasks. These are the people who must live with Parkinson’s as a constant companion, and yet engage in a solemn warfare against this formidable foe. We will hear their stories. They will take our hands, open our eyes, our hearts, our minds and let us into their lives lived with PD: seeing, feeling, knowing, if briefly, their emotions, thoughts, and physical abilities…and inabilities. This will tell their stories.

The people, not the disease, will be the story. Yet it is through them that we will come to understand what it is to be diagnosed and live with Parkinson’s. Intimate interviews will draw the viewer in, and for those who have Parkinson’s, or know people who do, these glimpses will touch the heart. Even the casual observer will be drawn in and find insight and strategy to take away and apply to their private battles. Parkinson’s is just one of life’s many challenges. Its lessons can be learned by anyone who wishes to remain undefeated.

And when we fade to black, and the credits roll, we will have experienced the reality of life with Parkinson’s: depression, laughter, irony and hope. We will have seen the fine balance, the dynamic and demanding conflict, between pathos and victory. In the final analysis, we will recognize that there is no disease or disaster that can defeat us. For it is by faith we fight against despair. By courage we cling to hope. All the while remaining undefeated.


I'm Here It's Me Can You See

Contact: Ruth Peyser
New York, NY, USA
Time: 25 minutes

I'm Here It's Me Can You See explores the effects of chronic illness on people's lives through the stories of two women with Parkinson's disease.

As a child, Ruth Peyser spent a lot of time with her Aunt Clara. It was the 1960s. Clara had Parkinson’s Disease and was visibly disabled. Ruth was terrified of her. In 1996 Ruth’s close friend Pamela Quinn, a dancer and performance artist, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Pam has two sons. They have only known her with the disease. In the years preceding her diagnosis, Pam and her husband, Michael O’Connor, made a series of performance pieces that had themes of illness, damage and isolation.

The film tells the stories of Pam and Clara from multiple perspectives, weaving them together using hand drawn animation, manipulated live action footage and archival performance videos. The carefully placed juxtapositions are sometimes startling and uncomfortable, at other times humorous and heartwarming, reflecting the conflicted feelings we have toward disease and our mortality.

I'm Here It's Me Can You See is a deep and thought-provoking journey, exposing in a touching and compassionate way the qualities that make us human.

Membership Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal