For those who haven’t seen it yet, The Genius of Marian is a touching, riveting documentary film about those whose lives have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease, written and directed by Banker White. Based on the experience of Banker’s family, the film artfully blends the ideas of memory, family history and how to cope with illness.
The film shows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease over two generations; Banker’s own mother, and her mother, who was an artist. “On the surface,” says White, “the film is about my family’s effort to come to terms with the changes Alzheimer’s disease brings. But it is also a meditation on the meaning of family, the power of art and the beautiful and painful ways we cope with illness and loss.”
Since its launch, the film has held multiple screenings across North America and has also been released on iTunes. The film has also won several awards and earned the title of Official Selection of the Tribeca Film Festival in 2013.
With the release of the film came The Genius of Caring, a transmedia project created by One Net Studios to bring together individuals who are affected by Alzheimer’s, be it family members, friends or professional caregivers (read the full case study here). Also referred to as a public art project, the site is available to individuals worldwide. We like to think of it as a meeting place for caregivers in the Alzheimer’s community.
Chris Riley, Outreach Coordinator for the film, gave us a little insight into the Genius of Caring’s progress, its growing community and how far it has come since launch.
At its core, the site seeks to bring people together, suggests Chris,“Individuals have shared that by reading others stories and sharing their own, they no longer feel alone, and have found a sense of community.”
“Our following has grown considerably since the beginning of the [Genius of Caring] project,” Chris says. “Individuals following us on social media are medical professionals, family caregivers, celebrities, local and national nonprofits, and individuals living with Alzheimer’s.”
Alzheimer’s disease is often isolating for the people living with the disease, family caregivers, loved ones and friends
The sense of community is an important aspect of the project, Chris emphasizes, “The Genius of Caring is important as Alzheimer’s disease is often isolating for the people living with the disease, family caregivers, loved ones and friends.”
Since the launch of the Genius of Caring site, many people have come forward wanting to contribute and be part of the experience. “Our community on The Genius of Caring site has grown to well over 300 profiles. We have received personal stories and feedback through social media and emails as to the impact of the site.”
It’s been rewarding to see the real life stories the site has captured—stories of those who may feel alone and are in need of support. “Stories help us heal,” says the Genius of Caring website.
“This project gives family caregivers and those impacted by Alzheimer’s and other intensive caregiving diseases an opportunity to become part of a community—to share their story and photos, read others stories and connect directly with each other.”