Episode 9 of My Little Sister (who happens to have Down’s syndrome)

Episode 9 My Little Sister (who happens to have Down's syndrome) poster

I’m so excited, relieved, amazed and proud to say Episode 9 is completed! I hope you like it. It’s available to preorder today here Vimeo On Demand  available to watch from 1st September. Episode 9 is an hour long film made from footage shot in 2014 when Magdalena was 8, and I was 11 and 12 years old. This was the year that Magdalena began to start to play independently alongside me, and the year that her interest in scientifically analysing things became apparent. Her need to explore, assimilate and understand sensorially became stronger. Magdalena’s humour and desire to do what I do is still strong and we still love being with each other and celebrating each other’s accomplishments.

Notes and thoughts on Episode 9

There is a little narration at the start from me, but that’s all. I wanted to leave the naturally shot footage to tell the story in this episode. There are so many decisions to make in choosing what to show in making each episode and we (as a family) discuss these a lot before starting to work on the film. Considerations of privacy, of respect and truth. I think these considerations become more important the older we get.

It is an organic process with very many stages, as it starts with sifting through masses of random footage shot on different cameras and devices and it isn’t until I have produced several rough edits that the themes and narrative of that Episode begin to emerge. Sometimes this means starting all over again as the film takes on it’s own story, its own life. This year it became clear to us all, that it was our relationship with our outside environment, the nature in the Welsh hills and our animals that is at the core of all of our learning, living and relationships. And in this Episode you can clearly see how our home education learning takes place, you can see the correlations, the connections, the assimilations, the flow of how one thing leads to another and how ideas develop and manifest.

This film is again a ‘stand alone’ episode although the themes become stronger when you have seen the development from the start of the series in 2009. The film’s focus is to portray Magdalena’s true character, rather than the challenges she faces in daily life. As in the previous episodes, I still want these films to reveal to the world Magdalena’s core. The film technique is ‘fly-on-the-wall’ but highly edited! The footage is filmed unstaged and without her (or us) knowing (if you ask Magdalena to repeat something as you think it was amazing and want to catch it on camera, she doesn’t! So footage is captured on camera before knowing what is about to happen! As soon as Magdalena has to process a request, she faces many challenges in coordinating everything needed to respond appropriately. Transitions and change are really troublesome for her, but I have edited these out to show her absorbed mid-flow in an activity. This is how I edit the film to show her true character, when she is not interrupted or disturbed by the difficulty of processing an imposition of an overwhelm of senses. Although some may see this as rose tinted, we don’t, because the world sees plenty of her struggles but rarely get to see the rest.

Thank you for your patience, this film would have been released last year but due to the burglary we had to start from scratch and many times over the last year we thought that we may have to stop this project with the insurmountable trawling through unlabelled files and snippets from many sources to retrieve and find footage for me to use. But it’s here, and thank you to everyone who encouraged me to continue with what seemed like an impossible task with all that lost footage and equipment.

If you like the film please share these links and encourage others to rent/buy it. I am entirely self-funded and people only know that these films exist through word of mouth. There will also be a DVD of Episode 9 coming out soon.

My Little Sister (who happens to have Down’s syndrome) Episode 9

Available to rent @$5.99
Available to buy @$11.99
And here’s the trailer!