A Man's Life is a poignant portrayal of Alzheimer’s disease and the pain that comes with it but also the strength of love and family to overcome it all.
A young woman named Jane is trying to bond with her grandfather Abe, who has Alzheimer's. She struggles to cope with watching him slowly lose his memory but pushes herself to work on a project that represents his life and will live on long after he's forgotten it. Jane reaches out to her brother, Josh, who no longer goes to visit Abe because he is unsure how to cope and relate to his grandfather. Josh realizes that family comes first despite issues and pain that go with it and decides to support his sister.
My grandfather was always my hero growing up. The amazingly true stories he told always captivated me. His 79 years of life was like none I had ever heard of before. In this time, he served during a war, had five children-17 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, was mayor of my town and continues to be an inspiration to us all. I've never seen a man love his family and live with as much joy as my grandfather. He always makes it clear of just how proud he is of me. He started having memory problems a while ago. It began with little things, repeating a question or doing things multiple times. In 2014, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease which is virtually incurable. "Bip," as my family and I refer to him as, is still the same guy we grew up admiring. Even now with Alzheimer's, while he slowly forgets his memories, he is positive and uplifting; a smile rarely leaving his face. I wanted this film to showcase this while also revealing the grief Alzheimer's afflicts on the family members who have to cope with slowly losing their loved one. This disease has had an enormous effect on my family, more than we'd like to admit. It's hard watching a family member you admire slowly forget who you are and who they are. Everyone copes with this a different way whether they continue to visit this person or find it too painful. Using Bip's stories, almost literally, I wanted to save his memories so that they won't be forgotten even after he no longer remembers.
Paul E. Kandarian is a film and stage actor who loves and respects the fantastic power of story, considering it an honor and responsibility to tell them in a way that's true to the story and the people behind them. His connection with Alzheimer's is especially important; his mother died at 89, having suffered from the disease for several years prior.
Mary Herbert is a Boston native and graduated from Ithaca College with a BFA in Acting, and a minor in Dance. She has appeared in over 17 student and independent film/TV projects, along with professional theatre experience.
Chris J. Faria graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2017 with a dual-degree in Computer Science and Theatre, along with a certificate in Film Studies. He is an actor and director, known for Barry: The Making of an American Icon (2017), Lasting Memory (2017) and Better Dead Than Red (2017).
This film will reflect the emotional impact that Dementia and Alzheimer’s have on the individual as well as their family. Similar to Justine, whose grandfather has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, my grandmother has been diagnosed with Dementia, which is where both of our motivations originated to create this significant film. Its storyline brings in viewers who empathize with Jane, Abe, and Josh. These two types of diseases affect everyone who is involved with the individual who has it, however throughout the film Justine and I emphasize the different ways in which people emotionally deal. Jane, Abe’s granddaughter, and the lead actress will be the inspiration of acceptance for the viewers. Her emotional rollercoaster and hunger for memories of her grandfather, Abe, allow the viewers the relate to her struggle. Abe, the lead actor, is battling Alzheimer’s; while his mind continues to fade, those around him can help him fight back with happy memories of his past. Both roles are serious about showing the relationship and emotional struggle between both lead characters. Justine and I have assembled a crew made up of URI Film/Media students who understand how to film quality low – budget productions. This film will bring in viewers wherever since both diseases affect millions of people across the globe and the latest news that universities – such as URI – and countries have begun to research methods to prevent both diseases.
Justine Mirek became interested in film while student directing plays for the middle school in South Windsor, Connecticut and acting as an extra in a short film. While pursuing a Public Relations and Film/Media double degree at URI, she has completed several internships working in content creation and advertising roles. Her work has been featured on the URI homepage and has won several awards. She was the director of the production class show, 20SomethingsTV and has assisted directed and produced multiple short films such as Nameless, Cameron and Little Universe. In her last semester, she has stepped up to direct a film that she is passionate and personally connected to.
Spencer Kaplan was born and raised in Tenafly, New Jersey where he discovered the beautiful work of film making and broadcasting. After graduating from high school, he decided to leave the area in 2015 to study Film/Media and Political Science at the University of Rhode Island. He co-produced 20somethingsTV, interned at MSNBC in NYC and directed several 16mm films. These films include In the Dark, Karma, and Nameless.
Sean Campbell is a Senior Film/Media and Communications Studies double major at the University of Rhode Island. He developed a passion for the film when he saw movie magic happen before his own eyes as a kid. After studying film for a few years and trying different roles, Sean gravitated towards camerawork and cinematography. Throughout his college career, he has been the Director of Photography on three student films (Nameless, Little Universe, and Sophrosyne), as well as the videographer for several sports on campus and promotional videos.
Saige Grazia is a senior double major in Film/Media and English at The University of Rhode Island. Her Dad is a film producer, and after watching him work on film sets throughout her childhood, she discovered her interest in filmmaking. Working as a PA for her Aunt’s production company, Red Thread Productions, has also inspired her to continue with her passion for filmmaking. She has worked on multiple films such as Nameless, Red, and Hemp Milk.
Jared Jorge is from Cranston, RI and is a senior film media major. In the past, he’s worked as a director of photography for the film After the Tone and as a gaffer for the film Memoria. For this film, A Man’s Life, he chose to do the sound recording to build his experience in this area. While his greatest aspirations lie in cinematography, he desires to gain an understanding of all the different tools used to create films. His interest in filmmaking was sparked by making videos of friends and himself skateboarding. Filmmaking for him has become its fulfilling endeavor.
Emma Cunningham is currently a senior at URI with a double major in Film/Media and Gender Women’s Studies. As a kid, Cunningham and her sister were always making videos and putting on shows which continued throughout high school and college. A year ago, she was diagnosed with type one diabetes, which has inspired her to promote better representation in media for type one. She enjoys doing special effects makeup in her spare time and hopes to continue with that. She has worked on films such as Intruder and Noblism.
Vincent Evola is a 21-year-old double major in Communications Studies and Film/Media. He has worked in many production classes and looks forward to these upcoming films he is working on. Vincent has been into movies his whole life. He loved the way that directors were able to tell a story through a visual art such as film. As he grew up, he knew he wanted to be involved with making such art. Over time, he grew more and more interested in the editing side of things. He loved being able to take raw footage and transform it to tell a story.
Corey Dolan is a senior, majoring in Film/Media at the University of Rhode Island. He has worked on many projects throughout his time at URI, working in various positions, mostly in sound. He was the sound technician on projects such as David Elperin’s "Summer" and for Jina Moran’s "Forget Me Not." He's also done sound and has assisted in editing for Saige Alexandra’s short film "Nameless." He hopes to gain more experience editing on Justine's film, A Man's Life.
Lionel Jefferies is a freshman Film/Media student at the University of Rhode Island with roots in rural Connecticut. Since high school, Jeffries has been creating horror and thriller short films as well as participating in film festivals. In March of 2018, Jeffries attended the 8th Annual Queens World Film Festival where he won the Jury Award of Emerging Filmmaker, an honor for rising directors. As Jeffries continues his studies as a film student, he looks to collaborate with an array of artists and industry professionals.
Anna Viola is a freshman film major at the University of Rhode Island. For as long as she can remember she has had a camera in her hand whether it be for photography or videography. Other than her projects, Anna hasn't had the opportunity to work on many films in the past. She hopes that getting to work on upper class-men film sets will give her the useful experience she needs to move forward in her career as a filmmaker!