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On Monday, September 8, 2014, The Genius of Marian, a documentary film conceived, produced and directed by San Francisco artist and long time One Net friend, Banker White along with his Emmy award-winning partner Anna Fitch, had its broadcast premiere on PBS as a part of POV (Point of View), American television’s longest-running independent documentary series.

The film was an Official Selection of the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.

Visually rich and emotionally complex, The Genius of Marian documents Banker White’s own family, who has been afflicted by Alzheimer’s in two generations, and their fight to cope with loss while holding on to collective memory.

It is a film in which paintings, home movies, photos and current footage come together to depict how the inevitable changes that come with neurodegenerative diseases affect roles within the family.

“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.”

The Genius of Caring

Coinciding with the broadcast premiere, One Net Marketing helped to launch The Genius of Caring, a web-based memory collection application and interactive story-sharing project that serves as a companion to the film.

The Genius of Caring is a transmedia project designed and coded by One Net Marketing. It allows users to participate with the film and contribute their personal story to a mosaic of similar stories, connecting those coping with or caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s and related neurodegenerative diseases.

The hope is to encourage public understanding and awareness of the daunting challenge that caregiving represents for many families, and also to relieve the isolation caregivers feel by creating a community of encouragement and empathy.

The Genius of Caring web experience is an extension of the film that creates a more diverse portrait of what other people experience.

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What makes The Genius of Caring such an emotionally compelling project is its interactivity. The web app enables users to contribute digital artifacts to a story archive, called the Care Gallery, where they can share their experiences with neurodegenerative disease and upload personal photographs to illustrate their stories.

One Net Marketing worked closely with The Genius of Marian team to carry over the emotional tone and striking visuals of the film to The Genius of Caring web experience.

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Users begin by viewing and interacting with a caregiver “portrait,” snippets of documentary footage interspersed with prompts that allow users to input and share their own experiences related to what they just watched.

Once they are finished, users are given the opportunity to populate their own “story” by expanding on the prompts they just answered in as much detail as they feel comfortable sharing, including uploading personal photos to accompany each “chapter” of their story.

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These photos then become a part of the public Care Gallery.

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In the Care Gallery, users can click on photos to browse through the stories of others going through similar experiences at every stage of the disease and from a variety of perspectives.

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The project offers a uniquely intimate glimpse into the caregiving experience and creates a veracious portrait of a community connected through compassion.

Five additional documentary portraits will be added to the site throughout the year.

Watch the full film online at pbs.org/pov/geniusofmarian until October, 8, 2014.

Want to help?

In order to produce 5 more interactive Video Portraits, Banker has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the production of the portraits and the implementation of those portraits on the website, along with a few more web features.

Visit The Genius of Marian Kickstarter campaign here!
And be sure to check out weowntv.org, another project close Banker White’s heart.