'Smaller' a short film by Aucklander Andy McDowell has won two prestige awards at the 2013 World Parkinson Congress in Montreal, Canada. The animated film is based on a poem Andy wrote when he was newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s. In a first for the World Parkinson Congress, the video not only impressed the judges who awarded it the Grand Prize, but also received the most votes in the People’s Choice Award, showing how touched people in the global Parkinson’s community and the general public were by the message.
Smaller was one of 113 short films entered into the competition. Andy wrote the poem to try to explain to his two young daughters what was happening to him.
"It's amazing. What started as a poem for my girls about what it feels like to have Parkinson’s - and to then "organically" tend to it (it was in various newsletters, on Facebook etc), and to just create the film was a big achievement", said Andy. "But to gain this recognition and to see it impacting in a global sense with the Parkinson's community is completely humbling" Andy continued.
Andy was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2009 when he was just 43. At the time his daughter Lily was aged 4 years and Pearl was just 11 months old. "The defining message of the film is that whilst Parkinson's has forever made me "smaller" in a physical sense I still have choice over the rest of my world. In a strange way PD requires me to be "bigger" to still be me and, whilst I can’t speak for everyone, that seems to strike a chord".
Parkinson's New Zealand's Chief Executive Deirdre O’Sullivan who is representing New Zealand at the Congress said "I am delighted to see Andy recognised on the world stage. The emotional response shown by the 2,000 people who viewed his film this evening was remarkable and reflects the impact it has had on so many people around the world. We are extremely proud of him."
The Third World Parkinson Congress is being held in Montreal, Canada 1 - 4 October. This congress brings together physicians, scientists, allied health professionals, caregivers and people with Parkinson's to share information on care models, latest research and living daily with Parkinson’s.
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