World Broadcast Premiere on TVO
World Alzheimer’s Day
September 21, 2017 at 9:00pm and midnight on TVO
Also available on tvo.org beginning September 22.
Funded by: Nomad Films, TVO and TELUS Fund
4 x VR companion pieces immerse users into the world of a family’s young care givers and parent living with young onset Alzheimer’s
“What better way to shine a light on young onset Alzheimer’s than through the personal stories of real people. Much Too Young not only helps dispel the common belief that dementia is an older person’s disease, but it also sends a strong message about the importance of supporting caregivers, no matter their age, and having a strong social network.” – Pauline Tardif, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Canada.
“My mom was my everything. And then suddenly, I had to be hers.”
– Kathryn Fudurich, 27 yr
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 21, 2017
Nomad Films is pleased to announce the world broadcast premiere of their new documentary, Much Too Young, co-directed by Christopher Wynn & Russell Gienapp on TVO on World Alzheimer’s Day, Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 9pm and midnight. Much Too Young will also be available across Canada beginning September 22 on www.tvo.org. Knowledge Network will broadcast the film in 2018.
Mark Johnston and Amanda Handy, partners of Nomad Films said “In our twenty years of making films about social issues, we feel that Much Too Young might be one of the most important projects we’ve ever undertaken. This film highlights the strength of these remarkable young caregivers.
John Ferri, TVO Vice-President, Current Affairs and Documentaries added, “Much Too Young is a wonderfully compelling and moving example of TVO documentaries – thought-provoking and in-depth, exploring social, economic and political issues through a personal lens”.
What does it mean to be a young adult caring for an ailing parent? To take on the role of care giver before starting a family, career or an independent life of your own? Much Too Young is a powerful and unflinching look at four families’ journey as they adapt to the unexpected role reversal – and the complications that come with caring for a parent with young onset Alzheimer’s at a startlingly young age.
There are over 564,000 Canadians living with dementia and about 16,000 Canadians under the age of 65 who have the disease. Each year, 25,000 more Canadians are diagnosed with dementia. In less than 15 years, almost a million Canadians will be impacted.
Many of these families have children who are taking on significant responsibilities as young caregivers putting their own lives on hold and facing enormous challenges in isolation and without support.
Kathryn, Aurelie, Kathleen and Chris are between the ages of thirteen and twenty-seven. Their situations are all unique, yet they all face the tests of anyone else their age, as they move through school, work and their social lives. And they all have something in common; they each have a parent whose memories and ability to raise their children has been taken from them at an early age. Much Too Young follows each of these young people and their families as they try to find their youthful identities; while at the same time coping with their lives at home, caring for an ailing parent.
Kathryn Fudurich was 21 years old when her mom, Patricia, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 55 years of age. Kathryn balances care giving with work as a filmmaker of wedding and corporate videos and is also a singer who performs in clubs around Toronto. “All the Time”, an original song she wrote and performs in Much Too Young will be released to raise awareness for the film and for the Alzheimers Society, coinciding with the TVO broadcast.
A desire to find peers going through a similar journey led Kathryn to cofound the Memory Ball, an annual fundraiser, now in its 7th year, and organized by young adults for the Alzheimer Society of Toronto. It was an instant hit, and the place where she first met the film’s co-director Christopher Wynn.
In Montreal, Aurelie Bouliane was 10 years old when her father Francois was diagnosed with Frontal Temporal Dementia at the age of 51 yr. A young teen at 13 yr in the film, Aurelie says she was a Daddy’s girl and cherishes the memories of her father coaching her in soccer and other sports. In Much Too Young, her mom Gloria tells their doctor that Aurelie seems to detach herself from the situation, though she realizes that may also be part of being a young teen. She says Francois was “a great father. He provided the fun part of this family and that part is now missing.” Aurelie admits “it’s awkward talking with my friends about it. It’s not that they don’t understand, but I don’t know what to say to them.” Their main interaction now is working on puzzles that have become Francois’ obsession.
Kathleen Fraschetti’s mom Moira was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 51 years of age. Kathleen, the oldest child of three siblings was only 20 yr at the time. Her dad calls her a ‘type A’ personality, and she feels the pressure to make sure her mom and siblings are looked after.
Working part-time in retail allows Kathleen to look after her mom in the mornings and evenings as well as getting her to her medical appointments from their home in Mississauga to downtown Toronto. Like Kathryn, Kathleen feels the lack of support from peers. “No one tells you how to tell your friends or boyfriend that your mom has Alzheimer’s…..I once read a pamphlet saying young people would feel proud or something to take on more responsibility around the house- let me tell you that statement really missed the mark.”
Peter Wekeles was 57 yr. when diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. His son Chris, 25 yr. at the time, and a grad student in Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto becomes emotional relaying his story in Much Too Young. He expresses the almost unbearable internal conflict of wanting to be there for his dad and his mom with his aspirations as a research scientist. Married and living an hour plus drive from his parents’ in Grimsby intensifies the push and pull, and guilt, that dominates his life. As Chris says in the film “Taking care of a parent and having aspirations. They both can’t happen. If my Dad has had a bad few days – that also means my Mom has too. Trying to support both of your parents is tough/weird and I’m still getting used to this role”.
Co-director Chris Wynn’s personal experience as a young adult caregiver propelled him to make Much Too Young. At age 30 years old, he interrupted his career in Toronto to move back home to Montreal to look after his Dad. He also documented his Dad’s 7 year struggle with Alzheimer’s which Chris developed into the feature documentary “Forgetful Not Forgotten”. Chris has become an advocate for the fight against Alzheimer’s while traveling with his film through the U.S. and Canada over the last five years. He identified an information void about the burgeoning numbers of children with parents with young onset Alzheimer’s and began searching for the subjects of this newest film, “Much Too Young”, which was filmed in the Toronto area from February 2015 to May 2016
With unprecedented access, Much Too Young tells the intimate and untold story of these young people as they live day-to-day, shouldering the burden of helping care for their parents. The film reveals the intense relationships between each family member, and how the family dynamic has altered the typical parent-child relationship. The film, for the first time, fully reveals the unrelenting impact of the disease on a younger person’s life.
Much Too Young was made in association with TVO and The Knowledge Network, with the participation of the TELUS Fund, and with the participation of the Canadian Media Fund and with the assistance of The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, and The Ontario Film and Video Tax Credit.
About Nomad Films
Nomad Films has successfully produced dozens of documentary films such as the award-winning Ken Saro-Wiwa’s In the Shadow of a Saint (CBC, BBC, IKON, and SBS Australia). The company recently celebrated 20 years in Toronto.
More recently, Nomad Films has produced Political Blind Date, the ground-breaking TVO/Toronto Star series that puts Canadian politicians together to explore major issues affecting Canadians. Another series was Fight Xchange, a major ten-part documentary series for Super Channel and Globo Brazil about mixed martial arts in Brazil and Canada. Other credits include: The Climb, (CBC’s Doc Zone, National Geographic Canada and Discovery HD Theater), about the first Canadian climb of Mount Everest; The Al Qaeda Code (CBC, WDR/ARTE, SBS); When We Were Boys (documentary and Kino Smith); as well as the epic series Empire of the Word (TVO, TG4, SBS, TFO) about the history of reading and writing; Disfarmer (TVO, SBS, SVT, AVRO); The Jungle Prescription (CBC’s Nature of Things); To Russia With Love (CTV and primetime ratings winner on CTV on December 29th, 2012). Giraffes: The Forgotten Giants was a 2015 production for CBC’s Nature of Things and ARTE France (distributed by PBS International). In 2015, the Nomad film I Married My Family’s Killer (Documentary Canada), won the Academy Award for Best Student Documentary. Nomad has worked for partners as diverse as the BBC, ARTE France, Discovery, National Geographic, PBS, the CBC, as well as a plethora of other media outlets.
About the TELUS Fund
TELUS Fund finances the creation of programming and digital media works that promote the health and well-being of Canadians. The Fund is made possible thanks to the vision of TELUS Corporation and the incredible success of OptikTV, now reaching more than 1 Million TELUS TV customers in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec. The Fund is an independently governed, not-for-profit corporation certified by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission as a Canadian Independent Production Fund eligible to administer TELUS Corporation’s financial contributions in support of Canadian programming. Since launching in 2013, The Fund has invested more than $14 million in 70 projects. Twenty projects have launched so far.
Much Too Young VR
The filmmaking team of Much Too Young (Nomad Films, the directors Chris Wynn and Russell Gienapp) and the VR team at The Digital Generals followed-up with the Fraschetti family from Much Too Young during the summer of 2017 to create four virtual reality experiences. They’ve also made a dedicated mobile app that goes deeper into the hidden world of the individuals dealing with Alzheimer’s on a daily basis.
The 4 Virtual Reality Documentary short films feature the Fraschetti family and Dr. Sharon Cohen, Medical Director of the Toronto Memory Program.
With the guidance of Dr. Cohen and the Fraschetti’s loving family of caregivers, you will enter the home and daily routine of Moria Fraschetti. Moria is living with dementia and her family acts as her primary caregivers in a never-ending demonstration of love in the face of unrelenting challenges.
The VR Episodes:
- One Small Step
The simplest of things can become daunting for those living with dementia. The Fraschetti family has to work as a team when mother Moira has difficulty navigating the home in which she has raised her three children.
The foundation of what makes Moria Fraschetti herself is slipping away despite the collective efforts of her and her family. Adaptative behaviour and conversations between family members works to keep up with the increased pace of changes. Even something as commonplace as a reflection in the mirror can be the subject of serious adjustments.
Delusions, paranoia and swirls of emotions can become more commonplace as dementia deepens its grip on Moria’s brain. Errors in how the brain can distort the visual and audio volume of her environment can sometimes make Moria feel unsafe in her familiar armchair.
- Love’s Medicine
Caregivers learn on the job as they care for their loved one with dementia. Patience and a calm inner purpose help caregivers understand that the person with dementia needs a steady hand to guide them, even during the last three feet to their bedtime pillow.
Much Too Young, the feature documentary, examines the hurdles and sacrifices of the young caregivers. The Much Too Young Virtual Reality app transports the viewer into the perspective of those being cared for with dementia. It will provide an invaluable tool for understanding caregivers both in professional and personal spaces around this disease. The VR experiences feature the families from Much Too Young along with medical expert Dr. Sharon Cohen.
Running time: 88 minutes
Trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvWZPAkO_ck
Official website: www.muchtooyoung.com
TVO’s website: http://tvo.org
Images available on request
Virginia Kelly, V Kelly & Associates
C: 416 839 9239