A filmmaker's devotion to her grandmother, who has been living with dementia for 15 years, has been the inspiration behind a film that shares the story of the international photographic exhibition, Love, Loss and Laughter: Seeing Dementia Differently.
Corinne Maunder, Producer, Fire Films Australia, said the Love, Loss and Laughter exhibition presented an ideal opportunity to create a meaningful piece about dementia.
As an entry in the inaugural Reel Health International Health Short Film Festival, the film explores the messages behind the photos that are currently on a six month tour in Australia.
"While making the film I learnt that even though dementia is a condition that people live with, it doesn't mean a person should be isolated from the everyday activities that they can still enjoy in so many ways.
"The project made me appreciate even more, the time that I have with my grandmother and my mother and aunt's unswerving dedication as carers," Ms Maunder said.
American sociologist and social photographer, Cathy Greenblat took the photographs in the United States, France, India, Japan, the Dominican Republic, Canada, Monaco and more recently, in Australia. The exhibition has already touched the hearts of thousands of people as it has travelled throughout the America, Asia and Europe. A book of the same title was published in 2012 by Globe Pequot Press, USA.
"I am thrilled with the film. Corinne has captured the essence of what I am trying to convey through the exhibit and the book - fostering awareness and reducing the stigma." Ms Greenblat said.
"This film will help to share the message globally that people with dementia remain, first and foremost, human beings and should not be defined by their condition," said Ita Buttrose, Alzheimer's Australia National President and 2013 Australian of the Year.
Almost 100 photographs of people living with dementia are included in the exhibition. The images offer a unique, compassionate and positive portrayal of people living with dementia.
"The person that is your mother, your wife, your brother or somebody, is still there. They just may not be able to show us that in the same way," Ms Greenblat explained.
"They may not later remember the details of an activity but through their mood and behaviour we can often observe that they are aware that they have had a joyous experience. I like to teach this through my photos."
"The photographs illustrate that people with dementia continue to have needs around social interaction and engagement in much the same way as everybody else," Ms Greenblat said.
The film will be screened at the Reel Health International Health Short Film Festival, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Federation Square Melbourne, Australia on 14 October 2013.
For more information about the current exhibition in Australia visit exhibition.fightdementia.org.au
To find out more about the photographs and book of Love, Loss and Laughter: Seeing Dementia Differently visit www.lovelossandlaughter.com
For media enquiries in Australia please contact Christine Bolt +61400004553, email@example.com
For direct enquiries to Corinne Maunder, Producer, Fire Films, firstname.lastname@example.org
For enquiries direct to Cathy Greenblat in Los Angeles, USA, cathy@LoveLossAndLaughter.com, Skype: cathygreenblat