Alzheimer’s Documentary Premieres at Tribeca Film Festival

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I usually am not overly inspired to watch documentaries. I have to be very interested in the subject matter to actually sit down and watch one. When I received an email promoting four documentaries to be premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, one immediately stood out. I knew that I had to see The Genius of Marian, a documentary film about Alzheimer’s disease.

Why am I so interested in Alzheimer’s disease? Partly because my sister-in-law was recently diagnosed with it. It is scary because she doesn’t live near any other family members and her husband is not in the best of health. My husband and his other sister already have their hands full with their ailing parents.

However, another, and possibly greater reason that I am so interested in Alzheimer’s disease is my fear that I might have it. I am at that age in midlife where most people, especially women, begin having memory problems. Since I had an exceptional memory most of my life I am especially aware and upset by this. The probability is that my memory problems are all due to aging, however they have definitely progressed past forgetting names and words and what I was going to do next.

The Genius of Marian is the fascinating story of Pam White. Her mother Marian died of Alzheimer’s disease, in 2001, at the age of 89. Marian had been a well-known painter and Pam set out to write a memoir about her mother’s life. During the course of working on the book, Marian began to develop symptoms and was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s herself.

Although Pam was not able to continue work on the memoir, her son Banker White, a filmmaker, decided to document on film his mother’s struggles through the early stages of Alzheimer’s. This true story has a circle of life feeling to it, starting with a daughter trying to document her mother’s life and turning into a son documenting her life.

It is heartbreaking to see her decline and especially difficult for Pam’s husband who is her primary caregiver. Seeing the effects on her husband was an especially important and educational part of the film. We also see Pam’s frustration, yet there are many times where she just laughs at her mistakes.

See below for more information on screenings and to watch a trailer of The Genius of Marian:

One of the things that scares me most about Alzheimer’s disease is the thought of forgetting my children and so many of the memories. I also hate the idea of my family having to deal with something like this. I don’t think I would  even mind this midlife memory loss very much if I knew for sure that it wasn’t Alzheimer’s disease.

Although The Genius of Marian is a devastating look at a terrible disease, I learned a great deal about Alzheimer’s and was completely mesmerized by Pam White and her family throughout the film. I hope that all of you will get the chance to see it. It is a remarkable documentary.

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  1. I couldn’t watch this without crying. Just from this preview, I know it is going to be a very powerful documentary.

  2. The scariest thing is to lose your memory. My dad had a stroke 13 years ago, and he said he’d rather have lost the use of his body than his agile mind. I know what he means.

    Alzheimer’s – the mere word scares us. I agree with each word you say, Jennifer. I look forward to seeing this movie. My beloved cousin has it, and now she is blind and doesn’t remember us. It’s a horrible way to go.

  3. I am doing an article for Boombox and this clip would be great to use. I will talk to you off line about it. Thanks for sharing. Horrible.

  4. Chloe Jeffreys :


    I agree with you. I used to have such a tremendous memory, but not so much anymore. If I knew it was just normal menopausal stuff then I think it wouldn’t freak me out so much. But what if it is more?

    The video was so moving. This is a terrible disease. My brother is working on research for Alzheimer’s. I hope every day there is a cure.

  5. Tough Cookie Mommy :

    Alzheimer’s is a very serious topic to me because members of my extended family have suffered from it and I have witnessed, first hand, the effects that it has on the individual and those caring for him or her. Thanks you for bringing awareness to such an important topic.

  6. Alzheimer’s has touched my life to and I think if I were diagnosed with the then I would be more depressed than having a cancer diagnoses. It is a terribly sad disease that effects everyone.

  7. I want to see this. I’m afraid of Alzheimer’s because my grandmother had it and it is an awful disease.

  8. i will have a hard time watching this one without tears

  9. Crystal Threeprncs :

    Sounds powerful. My Grandfather was recently diagnosed. So awful..

  10. I wasn’t aware of this documentary and can certainly see that it’s a must-see! Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. Middle-aged Diva (Carol) :

    I also fear the disease, since my father had it and as a doctor, knew only too well what it meant. There is promising research though. Let us pray.

  12. Thanks for sharing, I had no idea this is coming on; WOW soo powerful and I know a lot of people share the same story. A must see!!

  13. Oh my. It sounds like an amazing documentary but I doubt I could watch it without crying either.

  14. WOW.. so powerful; I had no idea this is coming on. So many people can relate to this. A MUST SEE!! Thanks for sharing

  15. My father’s mother suffered many years with Alzheimer’s before God finally took her home. My mother’s father, the man who raised me, suffered only a year with the disease that took his life. I am much younger than either of them and have recently started to question my own mind. I never have been known to have a good memory and worry that it could be more. I cannot allow that worry to control my life. I live each day searching for the joy that can be found in it and cast all worries aside.

    I really want to see this! Thank you for sharing!

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